Inclusive leadership is a style of management whereby all team members are treated fairly, equitably and respectfully, and where they feel valued as their true selves.

Indeed, discerning employees are increasingly demanding inclusive leaders. As a result of movements, such as Black Lives Matter and #MeToo, many employees are suffering from “statement fatigue” – that is, a growing level of disinterest and even outright anger towards companies who publicly preach social justice, but take little action to address issues in their own back yard.

Whole Foods, Pinterest and Adidas are examples of big names who have received complaints from current and former employees for making sweeping corporate statements that veiled an internal lack of inclusivity.

Why is inclusion so important?

Inclusive company cultures allow employees to say “I belong here”, “I feel valued” and “I can be my true self”. When someone feels like they belong, they want to engage, to contribute and perform at their best for themselves and their leaders; the impact of which is enhanced creativity, idea sharing, problem solving, performance, productivity and loyalty.

While you could pour all your efforts into creating teams of people from a rich mix of backgrounds and experiences, if you don’t create an inclusive workplace, you won’t be able to utilise or retain the value of that diversity and teams will simply disintegrate.

Who is responsible for inclusion?

Everyone is responsible for championing inclusivity in their day-to-day lives, but leaders play an especially key role in the workplace. According to Harvard Business Review, what leaders say and do makes up to a 70% difference as to whether an individual feels included or not.

How do I become an inclusive leader?

The CIPD defines an inclusive leader as someone who is aware of their own biases and actively seeks out and considers different viewpoints to help make informed decisions. Based on this definition, here are our top five tips on how to become an inclusivity role model:

  1. Commit to diversity

Make an authentic commitment to building diverse teams through investing in inclusive recruitment training and practices. If pe