One of the five top leadership qualities that this summer’s Foresight Prep students identified was “inclusive.” But what does inclusivity even mean?
The Oxford dictionary defines inclusivity as an intention or policy of including people who might others be excluded or marginalized. Today, organizations of all scales and across many sectors are recognizing the need for greater diversity in their workforces, especially at the top. Diversity brings many organizational benefits from more innovative and effective decision-making to a stronger bottom line.
But diversity alone is not enough. The workplace culture must also be inclusive. Inclusivity is about creating an environment in which all people feel valued and respected and have access to the same opportunities. When team members are truly being included, they are more likely to speak up, contribute, share their perspective, and participate in decision-making.
There are many actions leaders must take to foster inclusivity. For instance, they must proactively review the access of all employee groups to professional growth and recognition opportunities, from trainings and professional development, to access to networks and nominations for honors.
But becoming an inclusive leader starts with deep self-reflection on our subtle or unconscious biases. Which we will examine further next week.