Can Leaders Realistically Assess How Inclusive They Are?

Inclusivity is widely regarded as the prime overarching benchmark of the health of organisational culture. Therefore, assessing the level of capability of leaders to generate a sense that everyone in the organisation is included and their full intellectual capital is being leveraged, is fundamental.
The question is whether leaders can themselves perform the task of assessment.

Harvard Business Review recently published an article which highlights that those leaders who are not inclusive tend to overrate their inclusive capability and those who are inclusive tend to underrate themselves.

Symmetra’s research over the last two years using our two Inclusion Assessment Tools (the Inclusive Leadership Index and the Team Inclusion Pulse Survey) with hundreds of leaders in the Property, Financial and Legal services sectors (amongst others) demonstrates the very same disconnect.

These tools deliver granular results on just how inclusive the behaviour of leaders is experienced to be by those who work with them, spread across the eight competencies of Symmetra’s model that define inclusive behaviour. A report is produced which sets forth exactly what changes in everyday behaviours are needed. Our experience has been that seeing their own results has come as a revelation giving participants entirely new insights as to what has to be done to create an inclusive culture.

As an executive leader said at an inclusion coaching session after debriefing him on his results on the Inclusive leadership Index:

“I have never really understood what it means to be inclusive other than showing respect towards and valuing those who are different. But these results explain exactly what I do well, where I fall short and precisely what I need to do differently – what behaviours will embed psychological safety in my team; what behaviours will position me to leverage diversity of thought; how to engage with and value difference; how to be flexible and agile; how to demonstrate a learning mindset and span boundaries and so on… this has been a real eye opener for me and is an inspiration for action.”

Work with our clients over six to twelve-month periods has shown that because the Inclusive Leadership Index enables leaders to benchmark their results against others; to retest a year later so they can monitor their personal progress; and provides an overall Super-Inclusion score for balanced scorecards, it has acted as a compelling catalyst for sustained behavioural change and kept front of mind the value of inclusion in optimising team performance.

With tools such as the Inclusive Leadership Index and the Team Inclusion Pulse Survey to diagnose individual and team developmental needs on Inclusion and to set up accountability for improvement, we can really accelerate the much-needed building of inclusive leadership capability across organisations.

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