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Two thirds of employees say that, in their experience, less than half of the managers and leaders in their organisation are great inclusive leaders, according to a new report from Opportunity Now.
The report, Inclusive Leadership: culture change for business success, lays out a five-point framework for developing and embedding inclusive leadership over a two- to three-year timeframe. It is the result of an 18-month action research programme undertaken with five organisations: BAE Systems, the British Army, Citi, Fujitsu, and HM Revenue &
The Framework acknowledges that each organisation has unique challenges, environments and cultures, and is designed to be flexible to those needs. It encompasses setting out a vision of why inclusive leadership matters to a business and setting achievable targets; building a group of sponsors from across the business; putting inclusive capabilities into the core of management and leadership; embedding inclusive leadership as part of day-to-day process; and evaluating progress to ensure accountability at senior level.
The report sets out three factors which are critical for success. They are:
– Establishing senior leaders and managers as sponsors and role models for inclusive leadership, with CEO support vital although it needs support from more than one senior leader to be sustainable. It says senior leaders need to set out why inclusive leadership is important in supporting the delivery of organisational objectives and values. It says: “Managers and leaders will only change their behaviour and put inclusive leadership
capabilities to work when there is a clear incentive to do so.” Senior leaders also need to be role models for change through their own actions and behaviour and ensure inclusive leadership is core to what it means to be a successful manager. Managers at every level need to buy into this message.
– Building a group of change agents equipped to embed inclusive leadership. One individual alone cannot drive change, says the report. Change agents must be prepared to lead by example and take real action. They must be assessed for their ability to be an active role model, their understanding of the need for inclusive leadership, their ability to coordinate and collaborate and the skills needed to develop and embed inclusive leadership.
– Positioning inclusive leadership as part of an overall organisational programme of change. The report says: “Success in embedding inclusive
leadership is highly dependent on being alert to and seizing the opportunity to embed it into existing or new organisational processes, programmes and frameworks. This requires inclusive leadership to be part of an overall planned programme of change being undertaken by an organisation, not a standalone activity.”