Why You Need to Become an Inclusive Leader (and How to Do It)

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My passion and desire to be an inclusive leader is very much guided by my experiences as an openly gay man since I left my first corporate job in early 1982, so I know first hand what inclusion can do. for someone. Inclusion in the workplace offers people the opportunity to go beyond their comfort zones with support, and carries the responsibility of modeling, guiding and supervising.

It means focusing on bringing together people who might otherwise be rejected, isolated, or marginalized, and as more millennials and Generation Zs join the workforce, it often means bridging the generation gap. among employees, whether leaders or not. But the five generations in the workplace seek inclusion in different ways.

Leaders have high visibility roles and people look at them to know what to do and what not to do. As more organizations enter the space of creating a job for all, membership is now a critical business principle.

You are cordially invited to become an inclusive leader; so how do you respond?

The 5 generations and inclusion

Traditionalists are the greatest in the workplace, known for their resilience and value-based work ethic. Then came the baby boomers, who previously made up the bulk of the workforce, and are linked to hard work and adherence to structured systems.

Related: How to improve intergenerational communication in the workplace

Generation X is often known as the sandwich generation and is identified as independent with a desire for balance. Meanwhile, millennials have become the majority generation in the workplace, causing significant changes in the status quo. This generation strives to find a purpose in their work, which requires transparency and desires flexibility in their work, such as the Z generation.

Millennials are moving into leadership roles in significant numbers. His leadership style is characterized by challenging the status quo, driving more innovation and looking for growth opportunities in a multitude of companies. One of the things that is essential for a millennial leader or employee is inclusion in the workplace. This generation is driving change when it comes to inclusive leadership.

The baby boomer generation has been the most populous group in the workforce for a significant number of years. They were influenced by those who held leadership positions as they entered the workforce. While baby boomers managed other baby boomers, there was limited conflict based on generational group thinking.

But as other generations entered the workforce, a clash of generational characteristics and traits began to emerge.

It should not be generalized that all baby boomers wear a rigid and structured style or that all millennial leaders wear a relaxed and casual style. It is crucial to see what individual leadership styles are and assess whether they are in line with the expectations and demands of a diverse workforce.

Related: How to Develop Strategies That Close the Leadership Gap With The Generational Gap

How to become an inclusive leader

There are three things that every leader needs to recognize and act on to build an inclusive leadership style.

  1. Confidence: Work with people with different skills who know how to do their job and create the expected results.
  2. Empowerment: Invite people to work on new things that develop skills and expand their reach.
  3. Collaboration: Collaborate with people to work together who have complementary skills.

Inclusive leaders should also incorporate these three traits into their unique leadership style.

  1. Integrity: This is a crucial foundation that is based on the values ​​and beliefs of a leader. The inclusive leader must be aligned with the mission, vision, and values ​​of the organization to make a difference.
  2. Influence: One of the main functions of an inclusive leader is to manage performance. The inclusive leader relies on proven tactics such as training to bring out the best in people.
  3. Impact: Inclusive leaders are responsible for achieving a set of results and outcomes linked to a company’s strategic plan, and keep the focus on working together to reach the goal successfully.

Inclusive leaders face an unprecedented challenge because there are five generations. There are leaders in today’s organizations who may be from one generation, while leading a team with people from four generations and who think differently.

Related: Every leader should be an ally: how to implement diversity and inclusion in your business

Organizations that want to develop their culture and leadership style focused on inclusion and membership experience these competitive advantages.

  1. Recruitment and retention a diverse workforce that feels included and has a sense of belonging is more likely to remain long-term. Higher retention rates reduce the unnecessary costs of re-hiring and filling people who wear out in a short period of time.
  2. Promote and support creativity and innovation make people feel valued, included and respected. These three can lead to a culture of belonging.
  3. Developing and growing Diverse talent in an inclusive leadership-focused organization demonstrates to others in the business that they can achieve similar career goals to people who resemble them.

Both the individual leader and the organization will gain a huge competitive advantage in terms of impact on the workforce when they intentionally focus on modeling actions that drive inclusion and belonging.

So how do you respond to the invitation to be a more inclusive leader? The choice is yours.

Related: I came out as a gay man in the 80’s. He was the best I ever did for my career.

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