The business case for diversity is clear: organizations with diverse workers perform better than those not. Yet it’s also clear that having a diverse team alone isn’t enough. Our research shows that the biggest mistake a leader can make is to build a diverse group - and ignore the “inclusion” part.

A recent Heidrick & Struggles survey of executives worldwide found that only 27% consider their company broadly inclusive. And when we asked employees how inclusive they felt their organization was, that number was even lower.

Leaders also need to be sure people with diverse backgrounds, career experiences, and perspectives feel included and contribute. If you don’t, people will leave. Inclusion is one of the three parts of what makes diversity work and, when done right, will make a positive impact on your business results.

How do some leaders build teams that take 100% ownership of their projects and tasks, quickly find innovative solutions and execute those ideas — and include everyone’s diverse perspectives in the process?

Inclusion + Purpose 

Inclusive leaders communicate and connect how each person’s role is connected to the organization’s purpose or “what difference do we make and for whom?” Doing so creates a culture of belonging and positively impacts employee retention.

Practicing inclusive leadership makes GSD (Getting Stuff Done) easy

Leaders who make minor improvements at building diverse teams, communicating a clear purpose, and including individual voices in decision-making when updating policies and procedures to get strategy executed make it easy for their teams to get things done. 

Inclusive Leadership: What difference does it make?

The research shows leaders who use an inclusive approach:

  • Attracts and retains high performers
  • Easily adapts to quickly changing situations and unexpected challenges
  • Fosters team collaboration and generation of innovative solutions which individuals can promptly implement
  • Develops a leader’s ability to lead through influence rather than authority and know when to use the power of their position to GSD
  • Creates a culture where 100% of employees takes 100% ownership 100% of the time

A non-inclusive leadership approach:

  • Ignores the need for employees to contribute and take ownership of their tasks and projects
  • Creates a stressful environment where employees are unclear about expectations and not aligned with their roles and responsibilities
  • Dictates change to employees rather than involving them in the process
  • Relies primarily on authority and positional power to influence others
  • Makes it difficult for others to provide valuable feedback and ideas for process innovation that can save time and money

The cost of building a diverse team and leaving out the “inclusion” part results in decreased employee morale, poor employee engagement, reduced productivity, and increased attrition of top performers (an expensive problem given the current workforce challenges).

Losing your best people can have a negative ripple effect and result in projects going off the rails, possibly losing your best customers to the competition, not to mention passing on taking on new business since you don’t have the capacity.

Bottom Line: Leaders who can connect each individual’s purpose to the organization’s purpose and apply inclusive leadership practices with diverse teams will increase their teams’ retention and ownership-taking to get things done and achieve business goals.

Our Executive leadership training and coaching programs use proven models and tools and are 100% customized for your unique issues and distinctive culture.

Are you done “just talking about it” and ready to have Clarity, Alignment, and an executable Action Plan for Your Executive Team?