People

Inclusive Leadership

Create an environment where you draw out the best in everyone in service of a common purpose.

The Case for Inclusive Leadership

Organizations with inclusive cultures are:

  • 3 times more likely to be high-performing.
  • 6 times more likely to be agile and innovative.
  • 8 times more likely to achieve better business outcomes
  • 2 times more likely to meet or exceed financial goals.

A leader’s behavior has a major (up to 70%) influence on whether employees feel highly included at work.

An increase in employees’ feelings of inclusion leads to:

  • 17% increase in perceived team performance
  • 20% increase in decisionmaking quality
  • 29% increase in collaboration
Sources: Deloitte Review, Issue 29, January 2018

70 percent of senior leaders feel very included within their organization’s culture. In contrast, 56 percent of those in Vice-Presidential or junior roles do not feel included.

39 percent of employees say they have turned down or decided not to pursue a job because of a perceived lack of inclusion at an organization.

7 out of 10 employees say their organization fails to inform them of opportunities to promote inclusion in their daily work.

Sources: McKinsey 2020, Gartner

Behaviors Learned

  • Become more inclusive in the way you, your team, and your organization operate
  • Foster unconditional respect for everyone
  • See people for the highest potential that resides within them
  • Attune yourself to each person’s personal journey
  • Overcome limiting perceptions and stereotypes about others
  • Create a comfortable space for uncomfortable conversations
  • Constructively address breakdowns in inclusion
  • Overcome inclusion barriers and help others do the same
  • Become an agent of positive change

Core Ideas

We are much more likely to energize people to take on the cause of creating an inclusive workplace when we reframe Inclusion from “giving everyone an equal seat at the table” to “bringing out the best in everyone in the pursuit of a common purpose.”

Mentora’s Inclusive Leadership program is based on four principles:

Empathize with the Form, Draw out the Core

An individual’s Personal Form is their personality, unique personal journey, and present circumstances, while their Inner Core is the source of highest potential within them. With every individual, we are therefore dealing with two parts of who they are: a pure inner form from where their best self arises, and a personal outer form that influences their current behavior, thoughts, and feelings. We should strive to empathize with their Personal Form while drawing out their Inner Core.

Untwist your Thinking

We all experience mental distortions that cloud our judgements and perceptions. One such distortion is stereotyping — associating a fixed quality with a group of people instead of seeing each person in that group for their personal form. By eliminating our distortions, we start to see people for who they truly are and for who they can be. We become naturally more open and inclusive.

Build the Diamond of Truth

When people disagree, it is quite possible that each of them is holding some facet of truth. Our goal should be to build the Diamond of Truth by integrating these different facets while letting go of what isn’t true in our collective perspectives.

Be a Lotus in Full Bloom

A culture or group isn’t transformed overnight. Promoting the value of inclusion requires contributions from all of us — to identify moments when inclusion is breaking down, to speak up constructively, to inspire change in others. We’re being invited to be like the lotus flower that blooms in the midst of muddy waters.

Case Study

Inclusive Leaders Bring Out the Best in Everyone

Context

In the midst of a fast-changing work environment, where cross-function and cross-project collaboration was on a steady rise, Ericsson was looking for a way to upskill their Research unit — a global group of 700+ individual contributors and managers — so they could drive leadership in the network and telecommunications industry and maximize their growth and impact. This necessitated a focus on inclusion — especially for participants who, in response to the rapidly evolving environment at the organization, had to suddenly participate in and lead cross-functional teams.

Program

Ericsson invited Mentora to design and deliver a learning journey with the objective of lifting this group’s:

  • Performance
  • Ability to collaborate
  • Ability to lead change — first in their own selves, and then in others

We designed a program on Inclusive Leadership, which is now in its third run at Ericsson. This program focused on:

  • Redefining inclusion in a way that inspires people to embrace it as an organizational and personal imperative.
  • Learning how to use the five principles of Inclusive Leadership to bring out the best in oneself and in others.

Program Delivery

Mentora delivered this program via a three-month learning journey, which included:

  • Live webinars with the faculty
  • A self-paced digital program
  • Practice exercises with peer-to-peer feedback
  • Opportunities to transfer their learnings to real life professional and personal scenarios

Impact

Our training on inclusion resulted in participants cultivating a deeper understanding of what it means to be a truly inclusive leader. This is demonstrated in the significant shifts in participants’ likelihood and ability to practice inclusive behaviors before and after the training.

Change in Behavior % likely to practice this
before the program
% likely to practice this
after the program
Create a culture of inclusion 15 77
Get to know people at a deeper level in my interactions with them 15 62
Give people my full and undivided attention in my interactions with them 31 77
Pause, when emotions are running high, to check in with the other person 31 77
Account for and remove certain biases I may have when I am interacting with people 15 85
Create a safe and open space for people to share their ideas 54 100
Find a way to merge conflicting opinions in the face of disagreements 31 85
Participant Voices

I learned a lot about the other person’s background and what he is interested in outside of work. This knowledge could be useful in the future if we want to — or need to — find that we have something in common.

Senior Researcher | Ericsson

Participant Voices

The practice exercise helped me look at the person from another angle. It was an interesting experience. It has definitely led to closer relationships, some form of empathy, understanding, and connection.

Senior Researcher | Ericsson