Building Inclusion: An evidence-based model of inclusive leadership
Over the past decade, in business circles there has been a marked shift in focus from discussing diversity to diversity and inclusion. Organisations are increasingly recognising that if they wish to experience the benefits of diversity, they need to cultivate not just a diverse workplace but importantly also an inclusive one. There is also growing recognition that leaders have a critical role to play in achieving this – creating workplaces where a diversity of people feel valued and respected, have access to opportunities and resources, and can contribute their perspectives and talents to improve the organisation.
While the language of inclusion and inclusive leadership is increasingly being used in business, there is a lack of readily available practical guidance which is:
- Evidence-based, drawing on the latest international and national research
- Business-Focused, demonstrating the connection between inclusive leadership and both business outcomes (e.g. innovation, performance) and individual outcomes (e.g. feelings of belonging and uniqueness)
- Comprehensive, clearly describing and connecting the three inter-related concepts of diversity, inclusion and inclusive leadership, and describing not just the characteristics of an inclusive leader but importantly also the knowledge, skills and behaviours they need to build inclusion
- Integrative, explaining how inclusive leadership capabilities can be integrated into existing organisational leadership frameworks.
To develop an evidence-based model of inclusive leadership which addresses these oversights, DCA drew on industry and academic literature about inclusive leadership and inclusion. DCA also utlised interviews with executive or senior managers who were identified as having strengths in the practice of inclusive leadership to supplement these gaps.