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Today we are going to talk about what an inclusive leader looks like. Find the show notes on my website at

An inclusive leader sets the tone and models the behaviors that creates an environment where each person feels seen, valued, respected, and able to contribute.

Harvard Business Review published an article in March 2020 showing that what leaders say and do makes up to 70% difference as to whether an individual feels included.

When employees feel included they are more likely to share ideas and embrace collaborative decision making.

Inclusive leaders drive optimal productivity, creativity, efficiency, and engagement.

I spoke with a diverse group of executive women in Supply Management and asked each to share their perspective on the key foundational traits that enable an inclusive leader.

Five traits were identified:

  1. Authenticity
    Requires humility, setting aside ego, and establishing trust in the face of opposing beliefs, values or perceptions.
  2. Emotional Resilience
    Requires the ability to remain composed in the face of adversity or difficulty around differences.
  3. Self-Assurance
    Requires a stance of confidence and optimism.
  4. Inquisitiveness
    Requires openness to differences, curiosity, and empathy.
  5. Flexibility
    Requires the ability to tolerate ambiguity and to adapt to diverse needs.

So what does an inclusive leader look like in the workplace?

An inclusive leader takes on a collaborative and facilitative approach as opposed to a control and command approach.

An inclusive leader operates transparently rather than behind closed doors.

An inclusive leader is culturally agile, not tied to their own worldview.

An inclusive leader fully embraces and leverages the vast diversity of today’s workforce.

An inclusive leader creates a safe space where people feel accepted and empowered to give the best of their talents.

Inclusive leaders unlock the power of all members of their team.

Are you an inclusive leader?

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