Inclusive Leadership

During the first week of December, I had the incredible opportunity to attend and serve as a guest speaker at the NASPA Leadership Educators Institute in Orlando, Florida on Inclusive Leadership.  As I expected, the conference not only consisted of amazing professionals, but it was great to connect with so many awesome people doing outstanding things on their respective campuses all across the country.

During my break out session, I assisted leadership educators with recognizing the difference between diversity and inclusion and provided them with strategies that could help them develop more inclusive leaders using the inclusive leadership model created by a top international company.  I also shared with them that diversity is HIGHLY important, but without INCLUSION, we will never truly see the impact when creating diverse campuses and organizations. In effect, diversity sets the stage for more equality, but inclusion is the action that brings the diverse stage to light.

I shared with my audience six qualities of inclusive leadership that can be used to develop inclusive leaders on their respective campuses and organizations. For this month’s message, I wanted to share with you the six leadership qualities of an inclusive leader that I shared with my audience in Orlando, Florida.

Inclusive Leaders Are Fully Committed to Diversity and Inclusion

The first leadership lesson that I shared with my audience was that an inclusive leader must be fully committed to diversity and inclusion.  Being fully committed means the leader is not only willing to work towards creating diverse and inclusive workplaces, but they have created internal values aligned with the values of diversity and inclusion.

In essence, an inclusive leader is fully committed to the work of diversity and inclusion and has a set of behaviors clearly identified by the virtue of their actions.   Subsequently, when this occurs in leadership, the culture of the organization, campus community, or department is positively impacted.

Inclusive Leaders Are Courageous

The second leadership lesson that I shared with my audience was that an inclusive leader is courageous.  Being a courageous leader means you are willing to have honest, vulnerable conversations, and are willing to step out of your comfort zone to become advocates for diversity and inclusion. These are leaders who make the right decision in tough circumstances, and can forgive when hurt or mistreated.

Inclusive Leaders Are Culturally Intelligent

The third leadership lesson that I shared with my audience was that an inclusive leader is culturally intelligent.  Being culturally intelligence means that a leader has developed the skills to build positive relationships with others.

A model that I encouraged my audience to use is the cultural intelligence model. This model challenges people to develop more knowledge about different cultures, how to think strategically about developing better relationships with people from difference cultures, evaluating your internal motives as it relates to cross cultural relationships, and encourages you to be willing to adapt and perform behaviors while creating positive cross cultural relationships.

In the next two weeks, I plan to share the last three leadership qualities presented in the workshop. In the meantime, it is my hope that these leadership qualities not only help you become more inclusive as a leader, but it enables you to develop and create more inclusive leaders.

Inclusive Leaders Are Cognizance of Bias

The fourth leadership lesson that I shared with my audience in Orlando, Florida was that an inclusive leader must be cognizance of bias.  Being cognizance of bias means that a leader is not only aware of personal and organizational stereotypes, implicit bias, ways of thinking, and personal experiences that can affect the productivity, unity, and effectiveness of a group of people, but they have developed a set of strategies to regulate these negative roadblocks that can negatively affect people within an organization or workplace environment.

In effect, when a leader becomes cognizance of bias, they consistently evaluate themselves and the workplace environment to ensure that people are not being negatively affected by these unconscious bias that exists, and they make the necessary changes in love when things need to be improved so that people can feel more respected, valued, and possess more of a sense of belonging.

Consequently, when this happens, better decisions are made, people are treated more fairly, and more meaningful relationships are created within the workplace or organization.

Inclusive Leaders Are Curious

The fifth leadership lesson that I shared with my audience was that an inclusive leader must be curious.  Being curious means that a leader not only takes time to learn about the unique differences that exist within the amazing people who are part of our organizations and workplaces, but they develop a deeper understanding so that they can create more meaningful relationships with others and work more effectively as a unified group.

In essence, when a leader becomes curious, they attend different cultural events, they become more empathic, they take time to really get to know the unique differences that we all possess within the workplace, they are open-minded to different ways of doing things, and they are committed to learning about ways to create more unity, harmony, and productivity as a group.

Ultimately, when this occurs, leaders develop greater cultural competence, communication amongst diverse groups of people becomes better, and the diverse group of people within the organization develop greater synergy.

Inclusive Leaders Are Collaborators

The sixth leadership lesson that I shared with my audience was that an inclusive leader must be a collaborator.  Being a collaborator is someone that that is not only an effective team player, but they are someone that listens to others, gives everyone a voice, respects everyone, provides everyone with an opportunity to contribute, compromises, creates safe spaces for people to be honest and transparent, and empowers people to be their best.

In effect, when a leader becomes a collaborative leader, they are not only focused more on team than self, but they create a culture where everyone has a sense of belonging and each person in the organization or workplace setting is empowered and valued despite their title or position.

Subsequently, when this manifest, people become more connected, greater ideas, strategies, and solutions are developed within the organization, and leaders position themselves to make a greater impact.

What sets apart history’s nameless leaders from the likes of Oprah Winfrey, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and Nelson Mandela? Its their ability to be resilient!

In this powerful session on crazy resiliency, participants develop a set of lead principles on resilience that will enable them to persevere, bounce back, and overcome any situation they face as a leader.

The strategies used in this session will help participants deal with worry, stress, failure, and rejection more effectively, and will provide them with a set of coping, mental, and emotional strategies that will enable them to be more resilient!

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