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How to define inclusive leadership at your organization
April 25, 2022 at 7:00 AM
A woman with purple hair talking.

Creating an inclusive work culture starts at the top, which means inclusive leadership is essential. However, establishing an organizational definition of inclusive leadership is daunting. Inclusive leadership is defined by an organization's leaders, processes, and employee experience. Fortunately, at Socius Strategies, we can help. In Latin, Socius means partner, ally, or associate, which is what we are to each company and its employees. Our passion is creating workplaces of belonging that encourage individual and organizational growth and success.

Here is how we think about inclusive leadership:


Espousing a cohesive organizational inclusive leadership definition starts with self-reflection and understanding what it means for you, which requires focusing on self-awareness.

Self-reflection requires asking for feedback, holding yourself accountable, admitting your mistakes and failures, and reflecting on your upbringing, background, and social ideas. Moreover, social awareness is also critical, which requires exercising empathy.

Observe what is transpiring around you and use it to develop a culture of inclusion. Acknowledge that your organization is not a level playing field, and your lapses in knowledge and experience, and some weaknesses, have contributed to this.

Also, relearn how to listen, which requires listening to facts and the underlying feelings and values. Attend inclusive leadership training and find a mentor. Learning from someone who has developed an inclusive culture is invaluable.

Lastly, get comfortable being vulnerable and putting yourself in situations where you feel weak, and learn to be candid about your limitations.

Processes and initiatives

Establishing a definition of inclusive leadership requires attuning to and revealing blind spots. Recognize and accept your organization is not a fair, inclusive work environment.

This is crucial because, otherwise, you will enact minimal meaningful organizational change to increase opportunities for employees. Invest resources in process changes and building inclusive leadership. Consider things like:

  • Strategic initiatives
  • Management and organizational practices
  • Diversifying networks

Most importantly, reform the hiring process to continually introduce diverse hires with fresh perspectives and develop an inclusivity plan with measurable goals and objectives. Integrate inclusivity into all aspects of your organization, from product development to marketing.

Hold middle management accountable while establishing support to help managers develop an inclusive workplace. Middle management is where change often stagnates.

Connecting with employees

Developing a definition of inclusive leadership requires creating connections among employees. Encourage employees to connect with each another and connect with them, too.

When people are not connecting, they feel alienated, and mistrusted. Encourage employees to connect on the basis that they will exchange and receive ideas from a diverse range of sources and perspectives.

However, this requires treating all team members with equity and respect. Learn and appreciate what makes each employee unique so they feel connected to the team.

You must connect with employees, and employees must connect, so everyone is comfortable speaking up, and encouraging employees to handle difficult situations and entrusting them with more personal responsibility is crucial.

Reward and promote the cooperation and results you want to see, and do not gloss over the minutiae. If you observe someone being rude or dismissive, address it and suggest alternatives to resolve the issue and create an inclusive, safe environment.

Lastly, observe and discuss differences between employees without objectifying or making them feel singled out. Recognizing the unique qualities of each individual on the team is critical.

Schedule a consultation now to get started!

Establishing an inclusive work culture is impossible without establishing a clear inclusive leadership definition within your organization. We can help cultivate an effective, optimally functioning, and diverse work environment so your business can flourish on an individual and organizational level. Schedule a consultation now to get started!