Current leaders work in the rapidly changing environment of markets, customers, innovations and talents. High expectations and a different approach to work will be an integral part of shaping organizational cultures in the future.
How should the current leader to deal with all this?
Meeting these challenges will help so-called INCLUSIVE LEADERSHIP – combining an open mind and a “hot” heart consisting of three elements:
• Honest treatment of people and teams based on their unique characteristics, not stereotypes
• Understanding and appreciating the uniqueness of people, while accepting them as members of the group
• Using the thinking of different groups to better understand and make decisions
To achieve business goals, highly-inclusive leaders demonstrate SIX CHARACTERISTICS – in terms of what they think and what they do.
Number 1 is … COMMITMENT
A committed leader is one who understands and believes in business goals and at the same time they are consistent with his/her values - honesty and fairness. This combination of intellect (belief in business), emotions (sense of fair play) and taking care of people as individuals, and not “resources” is in line with the “head and heart” approach.
Number 2 is … COURAGE
Highly inclusive leaders challenge the status quo and are humble towards their strengths and weaknesses. The courage to speak out – to challenge others and the status quo – is the central behavior of an effective leader and occurs on three levels: with others, with the system and with each other. Courage is also at stake in the readiness to challenge the ‘traditional” organizational attitudes and practices. Courage is also about talking about own strengths and limitations, learning from criticism and different points of view, as well as looking for contributions from others in overcoming the own limitations.
Number 3 is … UNDERSTANDING OWN STEREOTYPES
Effective leaders are deeply aware that personal prejudices or stereotypes can narrow their field of view and prevent them from making objective decisions. To this end, they proactively ask different people about feedback regarding a particular situation, so as not to fall into the trap of their own beliefs.
Number 4 is … CURIOSITY
What is one feature that leaders need to have in order to be successful in the future? “I would bet on curiosity,” said Michael Dell, president and CEO of Dell Inc. The desire for continuous learning, openness, inquisitiveness and empathy are key elements of curiosity. Leaders often go to people who work in other departments and deliberately ask for an opinion, knowing that they will come from a different place than theirs.
Number 5 is … UNDERSTANDING CULTURAL DIFFERENCES
Effective leaders are confident and effective in intercultural interactions, because there is no one culture that is “smarter” than the other. An important element is also the flexibility in verbal and non-verbal communication consistent with cultural requirements, without losing own authenticity.
Number 6 is … COOPERATION
The new IQ is based more on group intelligence …. So encouraging autonomy, allowing your teams to connect with others in the pursuit of different perspectives will increase openness, innovation, curiosity for other more effective solutions.
The variety of markets, customers, ideas and talents is an inseparable part of today’s business environment. When leaders are clear what it means to be highly inclusive through six distinctive features they will be focused on success.