Listen To The Latest Episode of The Recruitment and Beyond Podcast

Hear from Hayley Raeper, People Lead at xDesign, on maintaining your company culture as you grow.  

Inclusive Leadership | Episode 5 | Recruitment and Beyond Podcast

Inclusive Leadership

 

What Is Inclusive Leadership And Why It's Vital To Success 

In our latest podcast we wanted to look at 'what is Inclusive leadership' and why is it critical to modern management.

Organisations looking to recruit the very best talent need to find balance in the diversity of their workforce, which is a better representation of society, and improve inclusivity across their team. 

Inclusive leadership has been proven to improve the bottom line, but this is often overlooked. 

An inclusive style increases employees' happiness, improving productivity and reducing absenteeism and staff turnover. All these elements reduce costs and lead to improved return on investment. 

Ewan and Natalie discuss why companies need to look at this management style and how to implement it in Episode 4 of the Recruitment and Beyond Podcast. Download it today and please be sure to subscribe and leave us a review. 

 

Episode Transcript

Please find the episode transcript below:

Ewan:
Hi, and welcome along to episode five of our podcast, Recruitment and Beyond. I'm Ewan Anderson.

Natalie:
I'm Natalie O'Hare.

Ewan:
Today we're going to be talking about inclusive leadership.

Yeah, today we're going to talk about inclusive leadership or I suppose inclusion, the whole topic. I was interested around this inclusive leadership because it's a bit of a challenge, I suppose, for a number of organizations, a number of leaders. I wanted to get underneath the skin of this and really understand what it is to be that inclusive leader. Is it a case that, I mean, can somebody do it who's running a massive organization or is it something that's really only relevant to startups? Is the concept that this is where leadership should be going? What's your thoughts on that?

Natalie:
Great question. Obviously it might be easier in a startup, in a smaller team because inclusive leadership is all about knowing your team. Absolutely getting right deep and knowing as an individual rather than just their name. Knowing them as an individual, from knowing their family to what makes them tick, to what makes them most productive. In a larger organization, but then again, there might be more managers in a larger organization, so maybe about more kind of team size, but inclusive leadership is not just restricted to SMEs. It'll be all over. I guess SMEs would be our focus to get it right. There may be other concerns or other items a bit more difficult for larger organizations. Again, it doesn't really matter because if that larger organization has 20 managers all still managing 10 employees, then it's about each person.

Ewan:
It's the same thing, isn't it?

Natalie:
It's the same principle.

Ewan:
Let's get under the skin of that then. That's essentially what we're talking about here. Inclusive leadership is about really getting to know your people, getting to understand them as individuals rather than necessarily saying, like you say, well, I know his name is John, whoever. Really understanding their family. Is that the crux of this inclusive leadership and is that what makes better leaders essentially?

Natalie:
Yeah, I guess when we're looking at equality, diversity, inclusion, it's about going a bit further. The analogy we talk about is it's not just inviting people to the party, but it's about them coming and dancing at the party. If you think of it as a party instead of a workplace, yes, we've got everybody there, but who's dancing and are we all dancing together?

Ewan:
Essentially diversity is inviting everybody to the party, but inclusion is dancing at the party, being invited to dance. Is that essentially it?

Natalie:
Yeah. Equality, bringing people to the party, diversity, having the variations of people at that party. Then inclusion goes that one step further to having everyone dancing at the party.

Ewan:
Yeah, sounds like a decent time.

Natalie:
It's like if you think about it as a pair of shoes as well. Equality is like we both have shoes. Diversity is that we have different shoes. Then inclusion is really the acceptance that that person will wear Crocs.

Ewan:
Oh, not that part.

Natalie:
Don't slam the Crocs because there may be some people with them, and I certainly had a pair there.

Ewan:
Okay.

Natalie:
It's about that inclusion that Crocs are acceptable, but knowing that Natalie has a pair of Crocs really-

Ewan:
Accepting that.

Natalie:
Accepting that.

Ewan:
Right. Okay. what difference does it then make to an organization if they do have that inclusive leadership? Does it help your employees become happier employees? Do they feel part of the gang, if you like?

Natalie:
Yeah. It's about collaboration as well, isn't it?

Ewan:
Right.

Natalie:
It's about each person. Having that inclusive leadership, knowing, understanding, but also allowing them to contribute so it goes much further. It's about them. Instead of having this top-heavy leadership style, it's about decisions being making from the ground as well, which can only help a business from profitability to all of the other areas, engagement that would come with the benefits of having that.

Ewan:
Because I suppose it's a real challenge to get that decision making tree and really include everybody's ideas essentially, isn't it? I mean, I think that's where a lot of innovation comes from is when you invite the ideas from the team who are maybe on the shop floor or they're delivering a lot of this, they can come with great ideas. Is inclusive leadership about including their ideas and getting them around the table? Is that essentially what we're talking about?

Natalie:
That would be the step further, absolutely. If you have a look at some of the stats as well, I love a stat, they're quite important. Those that do have that inclusive work environment, the productivity and then the impact on profitability and clients is massive. When we get right back to, obviously we've got diversity, we've got inclusion, we've got quality, we've got all of that. If we look at even the step back from inclusion to the diversity part, by having more diverse teams, apparently will attract more customers and suppliers to engage with your company. Then we get the inclusion from there as well, driving on from the diverse, so it's huge. We could have hours talking about this.

Ewan:
It does have a bottom line impact as well, doesn't it? I mean, essentially that's what we're talking about. The stats are there.

Natalie:
The stats are there to prove that it would have an impact. That's maybe what the driver, if a business is thinking, oh, what is all this stuff? It's the driver.

Ewan:
Well, I suppose that's my question to a lot of those companies out there who are saying, "Look, this is really important. I've got to get this product, to get this laptop out, or whatever it is." It really does make a difference, doesn't it? That bottom line.

Natalie:
Yeah, absolutely.

Ewan:
What is it that makes an inclusive leader then? What are we talking about? What are the skills? Are we talking soft skills? Are we talking, what do they need to have as an inclusive leader?

Natalie:
A lot of the staff is behavioral driven. It's the how we do it, isn't it? Diversity and equality is all about the identities, the who, the what's. For inclusion, it's all about the how, so it's about the empathy.

Ewan:
Oh, okay. Right.

Natalie:
Real managers, do we have that? Do we need to keep testing that in ourself? It's about removing those unconscious biases. It's about the emotional intelligence as well, of line managers and their capability. It's about the curiosity to understand and find out and want to, the desire and the ambition to find out and want to find out about someone as well, and the courage to drive that as well.

Ewan:
Yeah, you've touched on that actually, the emotional intelligence that the leaders would need to have. What does that actually mean? What does that mean to our listeners? What is emotional intelligence?

Natalie:
We hear this word all the time, don't we? People throw it about, but actually understanding emotional intelligence is knowing and understanding your own emotions, but also being able to have the ability to understand and interpret others. Having that self-reflection, having that empathy. Many managers probably, it's difficult. It's not natural. It's not natural. Maybe for their own emotions, but maybe to manage other people's emotions, that element of empathy is fairly difficult to manage.

Ewan:
Because sometimes it's overlooked because we just need to get a job done, let's just get it done. Really recognizing, I suppose it goes into a number of different areas, recognizing that your team are having a tough time. Not everybody's on an even keel coming into work, doing their job every day.

Natalie:
No, absolutely not. It's really important, but it's not just, it probably takes quite a lot of time.

Ewan:
I suppose that's the thing. When you become a manager sometimes you think, well, I've still got to do my job, I've still got to get these done. God, I don't have time to manage those guys as well. That's where the-

Natalie:
Behaviors are so important though. We've got the guy that is really good at his job, but the behaviors are just as much as important as being able to lead the team. It's about how you lead that team and having that empathy and that self-reflection. All of those things are hard, but actually will help.

Ewan:
I mean, is there ways to help people grow and develop that emotional intelligence, that empathy? Is that something that's inbuilt or is that something that there are training programs that can help with that?

Natalie:
Yeah, absolutely. There might be that inbuilt and-

Ewan:
Some people have just got it, haven't they?

Natalie:
Some people may have a higher level of emotional intelligence than others, and it would be good for that self-reflection as well. Starting, people don't know where they are unless they know where they are. You'll see the individuals that maybe reach out a bit more and do under understand wee a bit more, or, why is she not here on time at nine o'clock? Where actually the emotional intelligent manager will be like, I wonder what's happened? Is everything okay at home? Maybe something's happened. I should really give them a ring. A lot of the non-judgment and the unconscious bias. He's a lazy bugger. Well, actually there might be something really that's happened at home.

Ewan:
Has that come back to, we talked about this in a previous episode about trust. I suppose part of that comes into it, doesn't it? Knowing your employee and knowing that you can trust that person hardly comes in late or doesn't log on late normally, but there must be something here. Having that emotional intelligence to know, I know my team, that's not normal. Let's ask that question. Is that right?

Natalie:
Absolutely. It's a key. As a manager, look at your team. Do you genuinely trust them? If you don't, have got the right person in the seat?

Ewan:
Yeah. If you're trying to implement that inclusive leadership throughout your organization, because the suggestion is a more inclusive organization's a happier organization, the team are happier. Does that need to come from the CEO or that can the CEO say, or the whoever happens to lead the organization, "We need this inclusive approach, but I'll be fine. I'm in a ivory tower. You guys get on and do it." Presume it's got to come from the top, hasn't it?

Natalie:
It has to come from the top, but most people might not see the top every day. Who do they see every day? They see their manager, they see their line manager. Their line manager really is the drivers of all of this change. The chief exec might set that agenda, but actually the line managers have much more. Yeah, he will have great power, he or she at the top, but actually the line managers really need to be able to be the drivers because they are the day-to-day bearings of the company.

Ewan:
I suppose if your organization sets your values based around that inclusive approach, then as a CEO or as I say as the leader of an organization-

Natalie:
The founder, the leader, a business owner. Yeah.

Ewan:
The knowing that your managers know that they have to run this through knowing that the values come from the top, that everybody has to buy into because there's no other approach here, is there? That's how you implement it right throughout the organization?

Natalie:
Absolutely. It's the line managers, but also the collaboration from very bottom up and having individuals being able to set that and drive that theirselves is the paradise really, isn't it?

Ewan:
There is some stats there about this level of inclusion and link to happiness and productivity. There is that there, isn't it? That's essentially what we're trying to get, is happier employees who are more likely to stay, be more productive. That's what we're doing it for.

Natalie:
Then that attracts suppliers. That attracts everything in terms of, so it's a full circle, really.

Ewan:
I guess some takeaways from this, from inclusive leadership. What would be our top three takeaways from that?

Natalie:
Top three takeaways would be to understand what inclusive leadership actually is within your organization. Where do you want to go and how are you going to get there? Which a lot of people might not be able to understand or to know at the moment, but know that it needs to happen. To always be thinking of what's next in the future to make that happen and understand the benefits. It might be painful, but when you get there, and to understand every person in your business as an individual.

Ewan:
Yeah. Okay.

Natalie:
Thanks for listening. Make sure you subscribe to our podcast and leave us a five star review.

Ewan:
If you're watching on YouTube, like and subscribe. If there are any topics you'd like us to discuss, just get in touch.

 

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