We need inclusive leadership in times of adversity and beyond.
As we start to move into the next phase of this global pandemic, the long-term impact on all of us – economically, on our society, our way of life, our way of working – is still unclear.
But while we have no way of predicting what’s ahead, we do have the opportunity to look back, to learn from our experiences, examine how the past few months have impacted everyone – and to make change where it matters.
With this in mind, the need for creative ideas, for innovation, fresh perspectives and for inclusive leadership has never been more important.
“To create resilience, culture must be authentic.“
Building a culture of inclusion where everyone feels that their voice is heard and valued will make a difference to the future growth of a company and the retention of their talent. And when making decisions, it’s more important than ever for leaders to include more diverse employees at all levels.
Companies will need to be resilient to get through the immediate crisis and its long-term effects. And companies with the most inclusive cultures tend to be the most hardy. To create resilience, culture must be authentic – lived by the leaders and made real in the corporate responses to the crisis in areas from employee health and safety; to benefits; to customer engagement. All employees need to feel part of, and supported by, the culture.
Even before the current crisis, leadership teams that did not reflect the demographic realities of today’s markets and talent pools may have been unwittingly out of sync and unable to cope quickly enough with today’s realities and crises. Now the stakes have become unimaginably high. Leaders are facing increasingly complex challenges that will require the best thinking to come up with solutions.
And research shows time and again that teams that are diverse are better at solving complex problems. Companies that have built balanced teams across their business – not just a few women in functional roles such as HR or communications, or a few people of different cultural backgrounds representing global markets – are those that will be able to draw on the business benefits that balance brings to the table.
As we live through this extraordinary moment in history, with unexpected levels of uncertainty and risks not seen for generations, it is those companies that are able to draw on a wealth of perspectives in their teams – across genders, generations, cultures, ethnicities, and backgrounds – that will ultimately be prepared for our new collective, global reality.