Imagine you work as an accountant at a design studio. You’re not involved in their main line of work, but your contributions are just as relevant as that of the designers to the success of the business. However, your boss doesn’t see it that way. When it comes to performance appraisals and rewards, the designers are picked over you every time.

This is what a non-inclusive workplace looks like. A place where employees are treated differently based on their profile or some form of personal bias is a non-inclusive workplace.

As a leader, your goal should be to conduct your teams in an inclusive and healthy manner.

Explore how you can become an inclusive leader to maximize employee efforts and satisfaction.

  1. What Is Inclusive Leadership?

  2. How To Be An Inclusive Leader

What Is Inclusive Leadership?

Inclusive leadership is a collaborative and empathetic form of leadership that defines understanding others before making decisions for them.  

An inclusive leader treats each and every member of their team with equal respect and fairness. Inclusive leaders are pioneers because they know how to listen to questions before giving answers. They understand individual strengths and weaknesses, helping them assign work, goals and targets accordingly.

Here are some shared inclusive leadership attributes:

  • An inclusive leader is an active listener, meaning they listen with intent and purpose

  • Inclusive leaders are mindful of the subtle differences within their teams

  • They seek different perspectives from their employees, helping them create well-rounded strategies

  • They acknowledge inclusion and diversity instead of adopting a homogeneous approach

  • An inclusive leader will communicate with an open mind without letting their personal biases get in the way

The meaning of inclusive leadership is broad, but in a nutshell, it is those characteristics that make you a relatable, approachable and friendly leader. 

How To Be An Inclusive Leader


In the workplace, leaders have to possess the right skills and competencies to guide their teams the right way. To be an effective, inclusive leader, not only do you have to be aware of each difference but also respect them. Rather than equality, you have to focus on equity. Let’s see how you can be an inclusive leader in your organization with a few examples of inclusive leadership:

  1. Self-Awareness

The first thing you need to do is build the self-awareness needed to identify your strengths and shortcomings. Maybe you haven’t been listening to your employees well enough or you’ve been overlooking someone unknowingly. Practicing self-awareness will give you the insight to understand how your actions and behavior affect others in your team.


  1. Practice Inclusion At Every Level

Inclusion isn’t just reserved for the top levels of management. Straight from associates to seniors, every member must be made to feel like an equal contributor in the team. For instance, someone on your team may not have the experience needed to work with others. You should be the one to help them transition smoothly, without making them feel like outsiders.


  1. Active Listening

Critical to growth and development, active listening is an art that must be practiced on a daily basis. When you listen to someone, you’re not just hearing their words, but also understanding what they’re trying to say—and the reasons behind it. You have to make your employees feel heard and understood in order for them to open up to you. This way, you can build an inclusive team where everyone gets along with each other and feels like a part of the team.


  1.  Everyone To Speak

There may be members of your team who find it hard to speak up for some reason. They might feel like they don’t have the authority or someone else constantly interrupts them. As an inclusive manager, you should encourage each member to speak up. Invite their questions, thoughts and ideas so they can get comfortable with participation.


  1. Practicing Equity And Fairness

Equity means to distribute work, opportunities and rewards equally regardless of differences. This doesn’t mean you reward someone who hasn’t put in the same amount of effort but recognize individual efforts equally. Being fair and just in the workplace is a quality that inclusive leaders possess. With inclusive leadership, you can create a work environment that’s built on mutual trust and respect.

Inclusion in the workplace leads to improved job satisfaction. Above all, employees will feel a sense of belonging naturally, without being forced to identify with their team or organization.

Leading others takes patience, experience and willingness but leading self takes determination and perseverance. Learn how to lead yourself to put your best foot forward with Harappa’s Leading Self course. With frameworks like the Iceberg Model, you can identify your limiting beliefs and overcome your biases. Take ownership of your decisions and drive excellence in teams by accepting differences and working with them—starting with yourself!

Explore topics such as Leadership Qualities That Makes A Good Leader, The Importance Of Positive Thinking, The Power of Positive Thinking & Types of Leadership from Harappa Diaries and develop skills to become a reliable leader.

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