In order for organizations to succeed in this day and age, we must wholeheartedly accept and practice inclusivity which is defined as doing business in such a way that everyone benefits – consumers, shareholders, employees, investors and the community at large. While we always have to be conscious of our leadership habits, it really does not take a great deal of effort to practice inclusivity.
Inclusive leadership is about understanding the difference between equity and equality and treating everyone fairly. When I started my carpet business the first obstacle I faced was to fight against the stigma of untouchability that existed in those times. My family and the society stood in my way because for them artisans were untouchables who came from the lower caste. But I couldn’t find the difference between people with regard to caste and creed.
Leaders need to implement diversity not just in words but action. I have learned that these are the basic traits of inclusive leaders
Inclusive leaders believe in dialogues not monologues. They know the power of collaboration and are ready to collaborate with other institutes and also give their team members a chance to contribute as well recognize that contribution. This gives teams a better motivation to outperform themselves.
In late 2010, in partnership with Jenny Jones Rugs and Peter Larsen – buyers and supporters of Jaipur Rugs we started an initiative called The ‘Alternative Education Program’ (AEP) which provides functional literacy to illiterate artisans and village community members who were not able to complete primary education.
A leader should always listen before giving an input. Listening is an important part in leading. Inclusive leaders are ready to hear what their team has to say and consider their viewpoint there by encouraging the employees to think more and in turn include them in the process of resolving.
Ready to unlearn
Leaders are not personification of perfection. They have their shortcomings and flaws as well. The openness to understand and accept is the hallmark of inclusive leadership. Curiosity for the unknown and a hunger for new perspectives make them unique.
An awareness of bias
Inclusive leaders are aware about their bias and is open for a difference of opinion from others. They try to prevent that in decision making by implementing diversity for a better and holistic growth of the organization.
Nurture a culture of inclusive workforce. Inclusive leaders believe in creating opportunities irrespective of the profits. They have a commitment towards society and community. By investing in people and inspiring others to share their passion and goals—their actions signal a true commitment.
Inclusive leaders identify the goals and passion of their employees and work to ensure the organization’s goal is achieved by shared passion.