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Building a diverse workforce that combines the collective capabilities of women and men, people of different cultural heritage, and younger and older workers, is nothing new.
Whilst companies from all sectors and industries have been talking about this for many years, few have been able to unlock the true potential of these diverse teams.
The promised improvements in business performance and employee engagement have been slow to materialise, or have not materialised at all in many cases.
The fact of the matter is, simply throwing a diverse mix of people together isn’t enough. The theoretical performance improvements only become real when the leaders of the organisation adopt a truly inclusive leadership style.
A leadership approach that ensures every single person in the organisation feels that they are treated with respect and fairness, whilst feeling valued for the unique contribution that they make.
In the fast-paced world of business it can be all too easy to forget that every single person that we lead, is the most important person in someone else’s life.
They are somebody’s husband, wife or partner. They are somebody’s son or daughter, mum or dad, brother, sister or carer.
How we act, how we behave, what we say and do, doesn’t just affect those that work for us, whilst they are at work.
Our actions have a reach and impact that goes way beyond the working environment. How we behave as leaders affects those that we lead when they are at home, and that will have an impact on their loved ones.
I believe it is our job to ensure those we lead feel valued for their unique contribution and inspired to come to work and give their very best.
Not for us, but for each other.
For our customers.
But inclusivity and diversity aren’t just nice to haves on teams. Research form Harvard University shows that they directly enhance performance.
Teams with inclusive leaders are 17% more likely to report that they are high-performing.
They are 20% more likely to say they make high-quality decisions and 29% more likely to report working collaboratively.
What’s more, research found that a 10% improvement in perceptions of inclusion increases work attendance by almost one day a year per employee, reducing the cost of absenteeism.
What could your business achieve with one more day per person, per year?
And what impact would that have on your own stress levels and those of your leaders and managers?
There are huge opportunities for the forward thinking leaders who are prepared to do the work necessary to adopt a truly human, inclusive leadership approach.
If you’d like to talk about developing the leadership capability within your organisation and unlocking the full potential of your colleagues, drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or book a call here.
This blog is an extract of a recent keynote speech I gave on The Impact of Inclusive Leadership.
“Ben Morton was at his very best (which is pretty damn good) and did a flawless job for us in linking the whole day together.”
Martin Harris, Managing Director, Brighton and Hove & Metro Bus
You can find out more about my Keynote Talks here.