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The power of Inclusive Leadership: Fostering Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace

During times of stress and uncertainty, people look to their leaders and to those around them for signals to reaffirm who they are, how they should act and how they will come together in solidarity and support. Inclusive leadership can “supercharge” the efforts you are already engaging in to offer a more positive experience than what people may be experiencing outside of work. An inclusive leader values diversity and creates an environment where everyone feels respected, heard, and included. But how can leaders become more inclusive? Here are some key strategies.

Seek out opportunities to learn from people with different perspectives. Avoid hearing from the same few in a team meeting about a project. Always consider if you have heard from everyone on the call and if you have considered all team members. In addition, consistently role model inclusive behaviours and hold your leaders accountable to do the same.

Moreover, build connections with empathy and curiosity, recognizing that your personal frame of reference will differ from others. Openly share what’s on your mind and encourage others to do the same. Make it a point to dig below the surface in your check-ins, to reinforce authentic connections and build a sense of belonging for all. Get to know your team members on a personal level. Show genuine interest in their lives, cultures, and experiences. This will help you better understand their perspectives and build stronger relationships. An EY study showed that people felt the greatest sense of belonging at work when colleagues checked in with them individually.

An important technique for leaders is also to take advantage of accessible tools and resources for meetings and create multiple avenues for all team members to voice ideas and contributions. Visibly value contribution and impact and be as flexible as possible in working hours arrangements. Create a culture of open communication where everyone feels comfortable sharing their ideas, opinions, and concerns. Encourage constructive feedback and make it clear that everyone’s voice is valued.

Recognize that everyone has different needs and work styles. Be flexible in your approach and adapt your leadership style to meet the needs of your team members. At the same time actively solicit input from those who may be less vocal and focus on outputs, not “face-to-face time.”

During times of crisis, people look to their leaders for support, solidarity, and confirmation of their values.  Inclusive leadership can “supercharge” leadership efforts and offer a more positive experience for people who may be experiencing periods of stress or uncertainty. By following these strategies, leaders can create a more inclusive workplace culture that values diversity and fosters collaboration. Remember, inclusive leadership is an ongoing process that requires ongoing learning, reflection, and action. It is not a destination but rather a journey towards a more equitable and inclusive workplace for all.

EY Cyprus Contact

Argyro Ilia

Consultant – People Advisory Services

EY Cyprus Advisory Services Limited

[email protected]

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