2020 has been a year of unrest, of listening, and, most importantly, of re-evaluating priorities. Businesses, even small businesses, have been challenged to examine their own potential biases and proactively seek the well-being of all people. Topics of diversity and inclusion can seem tricky to navigate, but strong leaders recognize the value in a variety of opinions and backgrounds in their work. Here are some attributes of inclusive leaders we can all practice and learn from.
Being in charge doesn't mean you're always right. It doesn't mean being prideful and sure of oneself in all things. Humble leaders are willing to listen to others, own up to their own weaknesses and are willing to change their mind even about hard topics.
Leaders, by definition, have influence over the direction of others which means they have the ability to drive change. It can be uncomfortable and challenging to stand up against the status quo, but courageous leaders are not just clear about their values but are brave enough to do things differently, even in the face of adversity.
Being not just willing to learn but actively seeking answers to uncomfortable question and working with those who are different is the foundation for growth and therefore change. Inclusive leaders are learners at their core, trying to grow, expand their knowledge and challenging their own assumptions and unconscious biases.
Being a leader, especially one who actively seeks to be inclusive, is never easy. Practicing the values and traits of humility, courage and curiosity is a great place to start for anyone willing and ready to make their workplaces safer, more diverse and equitable places for all.