Assessing Inclusive Leadership Capability

Assessing Inclusive Leadership Capability

by Felicity Menzies

At Include-Empower, we recognise that organisations cannot achieve diversity and inclusion without inclusive leadership capability. As with any culture change, successfully implementing a diversity and inclusion strategy relies on leaders that model and promote desired behaviours. Unless leaders set the tone from the top, the returns from investments in diversity and inclusion will be limited.

However, many leaders overestimate their inclusive leadership capability. Consistent with the Dunning-Kruger effect (unskilled people are particularly prone to thinking they are more skilled than they are), leaders who are the worst at valuing diversity are more likely to overrate their effectiveness. The researchers conclude that ‘leaders might intend to be inclusive, and even think they are inclusive, but their impact on others might be very different’.

Assessing inclusive leadership capability through employee surveys is an important tool for identifying leaders’ strengths and development areas. Armed with a detailed understanding of their leadership shadow, leaders are better placed to modify problematic behaviours, leverage their strengths, and develop their weaknesses to drive improved outcomes.

At Include-Empower, our proprietary 360 tool assesses inclusive leadership capability in six traits—optimism, curiosity, emotional intelligence, humility, flexibility, mindfulness of bias—and three capability pillars—builds a diverse team, fosters interpersonal safety, and integrates diversity in business decisions and practices across 27 survey items:

  1. Actively seeks out and considers different ideas and perspectives to inform better decision-making
  2. Maintains a positive view of team members’ intentions and competencies even when things go wrong
  3. Seeks to accommodate different schedules, working arrangements, work styles, and individual needs to engender trust and empower high performance
  4. Responds with empathy when team members face personal or work challenges
  5. Actively listens to better understand different perspectives and experiences
  6. Demonstrates concern for others’ wellbeing
  7. Effectively manages their stress response (responds calmly when under pressure or receiving bad news)
  8. Makes fair and equitable decisions about people and performance
  9. Actively invites and welcomes being challenged on their ideas, decision-making and effectiveness
  10. Takes steps to manage bias in people decisions and builds a diverse team across rank and function
  11. Actively develops a pipeline of diverse talent
  12. Regularly asks team members whether they are achieving their goals and how they can better support them
  13. Provides team members with equitable access to information and development opportunities
  14. Gives unbiased, timely and constructive feedback to all staff
  15. Actively seeks to disrupt narrow leader stereotypes by visibly modelling flexibility or other non-traditional working arrangements and rewards those behaviours in others
  16. Visibility celebrates and champions diversity
  17. Sets the tone from the top by modelling and promoting respectful and inclusive interactions
  18. Calls out bias and other exclusionary and inappropriate behaviour in the workplace
  19. Encourages and rewards speaking up about workplace incivility and misconduct
  20. Builds confidence in the grievance process by holding inappropriate conduct to account irrespective of rank or performance, responding effectively to complaints, and preventing victimisation
  21. Takes action to educate themselves and others about diversity and inclusion concepts and shares their D&I learnings
  22. Brings their whole self to work and encourages others to do the same by creating a safe space to share and learn about different identities and experiences
  23. Expressly communicates that diversity improves decision-making, that all team members are expected to contribute, and that all contributions are valued
  24. Takes steps to address barriers to participation so that all staff can contribute fully and equitably to discussions and decision-making (for example, by sending meeting agendas in advance, paying attention to scheduling and pace, creating space for quieter and less assertive voices, accommodating for accessibility needs)
  25. Fosters an environment where people feel safe to speak up with novel ideas, to seek advice, or to admit mistakes without fear of being rejected, criticised, ridiculed or dismissed
  26. Allows sufficient time for and rewards integrative/collaborative problem-solving
  27. Recognises and values the skills, achievements, & contributions of all staff

To learn more about how we can help you assess inclusive leadership capability with our 360 tool email info@cultureplusconsulting.com or call Felicity direct on 0403 148 380.

Felicity Menzies is CEO and Principal Consultant at Include-Empower.Com, a diversity and inclusion consultancy with expertise in inclusive leadership, unconscious bias, cultural intelligence and inclusion, gender equity, empowering diverse talent. Felicity is an accredited facilitator with the Cultural Intelligence Centre and the author of A World of Difference. Felicity has over 15 years of experience working with and managing diverse workforces in blue chip companies and is a Fellow of Chartered Accountants of Australia and New Zealand. Felicity also holds a Bachelor of Commerce and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology.