Inclusive leadership: 'Managing Group Think' is the precursor to Inclusion

Updated: Sep 14

Inclusive leadership is a necessity for modern day progressive organisations. It supports and enhances working environments, effective branding and marketing and increased productivity and growth.

What are the benefits of diversity and inclusion and how can they be used to manage 'group think' across leadership?

Homogeneous leadership propagates group think

Diverse leadership is the sustenance of inclusion and inclusive leadership is key to building a diverse and inclusive organisation. Without it, there is little hope that any business will develop to a culture that promotes growth and delivers sustainable change, to keep up with a rapidly changing environment.

An organisation that does not seek to embed diversity and inclusion, has already, in some form or another, accepted the maintenance of the status quo as the organisational norm. Such organisations have failed to understand the sustainable business benefits of a diverse leadership.

The problem with this, is that these businesses, are at risk of submitting to declining levels of output and reduced employee and customer engagement, resulting in reduced quality outcomes.

Unmasking Homogeneous Leadership.

Homogeneous leadership propagates group think and group think is bad for business. It negatively impacts on productivity and impedes the ability to solve problems creatively.

An homogeneous group, by its very nature, is tied together by the similarity of its characteristics. This means that the scope for creativity and innovative thinking is limited by lack of diversity.

Where leadership is constricted by homogeneity, it suggests that there is a level of exclusion of other characteristics, which is either implied or applied.

Leadership should not be an exclusive entity within an organisation. It is an integral part of the business and should naturally replicate the diversity of its clients, customers and employee base, both current and potential.

When leadership is homogeneous, it tends to attract others of its own liking, which only serves to reduce quality of outcomes, limiting both business growth and impact.

Exclusion lowers Engagement and Earnings.

Lack of leadership diversity is tantamount to loss of productivity, staff engagement and creativity. Ultimately, this shrinks business earnings. Diverse and inclusive leadership enhances the quality of decision making, creativity and innovation, helping to drive brand image and customer engagements.

A diverse and inclusive leadership team helps to foster the engagement with a wide spectrum of people and ideas, thus enabling the increase in engagement with employees and other stakeholders.

The resulting benefit is that continuous, incremental improvements in employee productivity, creativity and innovation are realised. This, in turn, leads to an increase in business earnings.

The ability to interpret the development of goods and services, through a diverse and inclusive approach, leads to goods and services that become highly marketable. It helps to engage a wide range of prospective customers and clients.

The incorporation of diverse ideas, gained from a wide scope of cultural perspectives helps to engage employees and develop innovative teams. It helps to develop innovative thinking, helping to elevate the quality of leadership.

Diversity of ideas within leadership, systematically encourages input from a wide range of diverse stakeholders, both internally and externally.

Forward thinking, proactive leadership seeks to enhance outcomes by developing diverse approaches and frames of reference, across all business functions. Hence, diversity at all levels within the business is linked to a progressive working environment and a favourable business outlook.

Diversity is about Leadership Perspective......

Effective leadership is about the diversity of leadership perspective.

The ability and willingness of Boards and senior management to build strategies, through well developed leadership skills and practices, is a catalyst for better business practice. It is also integral to the competitiveness of a business and supports growth.

Where leadership is characterised by its 'sameness', it can be readily identifiable by its cultural, social, gender and racial homogeneity. Lack of diversity is limiting to business, and limitations become visible in the quality of overall business results.

The problem with exclusivity within leadership, is that it can foster exclusion. The similarities presented by background, educational status, lifestyle, culture etc, make it difficult to step away from the norms of the group and develop creative and innovative 'out of the box' solutions.

Hallmarks of diversity.

Diversity and inclusion can be characterised as important hallmarks of better business practice. Inclusive leaders learn from others around them, and have the ability to extract the benefits of difference to develop better problem solving skills.

Incorporating diversity of opinions and understanding, learned from cultural and other differences, presents the ideal opportunity to incorporate diversity into decision making processes. This enables leadership to step away from traditional solutions, creating new and valuable benchmarks of innovation, workplace relations and competitiveness.

Inclusive leadership must be an intentional characteristic of a progressive business, as it serves to propagate a mindset of growth, innovation and best practice solutions.

A business perspective that embeds diversity and inclusion within its leadership functions, is likely to be well led and supportive to the needs of all stakeholders.

Diversity as a driver of creativity and innovation.

Creativity, as a business value, is not maximised by status or hierarchy. Rather, it is harnessed by the willingness of leadership to build diversity into the systems and structures of the business.

It is supported by effective corporate governance around the diversity agenda and implies the effective management of staff teams in a diverse and inclusive working environment.

Inclusion leadership fosters belonging and connections that enable leaders to communicate effectively on all levels. This includes a well developed understanding of cultural competency and the ability to communicate with openness and transparency.

Effective leaders promote inclusion as part of leadership style, helping to drive inclusive practice across the business.

In essence, inclusive leadership embodies the ability utilise diverse and creative thinking. It is observed through an authentic willingness to encompass, and embrace diversity and inclusion.

Managing Group Think is the Precursor to Inclusion.