Inclusive Leadership: A Beginner’s Guide For 2023

Inclusive leadership is the hottest talking point for organisations across all industries in 2023. Learn what it is and how to implement it in your management style today.

  • Release Date: 24 January 2023
  • Update Date: 15 March 2024
  • Author: Speaker Agency
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Embracing an inclusive leadership model should be at the top of your agenda. This is the case whether you are starting a business in 2023 or looking to expand your business.

And if you’re eager to learn more about the inclusive leadership style, you’ve come to the right place. This guide, which includes inclusive leadership styles, will answer all of your key questions, including but not limited to;

  • What is inclusive leadership?
  • Why is inclusive leadership important?
  • What does an inclusive leadership model look like?
  • What are the 4 qualities of an inclusive leader?
  • How can my business embrace inclusive leadership?

Here’s everything you need to know about the inclusive leadership model in 2023.

What is inclusive leadership?

The inclusive leadership style is one where leaders actively look to embrace the different perspectives of individuals within their teams. Which in return helps them to make informed decisions that ultimately drive the best results for the business.

It is a form of diversity in leadership in which leaders listen to employees and collaborators. While also actively tackling their own biases. It is a business model that has seen a huge growth in demand in recent years. It feels even more significant than ever as we enter 2023.

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Why is inclusive leadership important?

A conscious effort to embrace the inclusive leadership style will go a long way to building a positive impact. Feeling included will increase the chances of an employee staying in ther role longer.

Utilising an inclusive leadership style doesn’t only create a better working environment for all team members. It additionally translates to a range of benefits for the business, as is shown by the stats below;

  • Research shows diversity increases innovation by 20% and brings a 30% reduction in risk.
  • Racial diversity drives a 35% improvement in team performance levels.
  • 79% of employees would quit a job if there is a lack of appreciation and value.
  • A truly diverse team will have a 70% increased likelihood of hitting new markets.
  • Teams are 8x more likely to see positive business outcomes when they are inclusive.

In short, a diverse business can expect to see greater success through a range of tangible results. Preferably linked to productivity, innovation, revenue, and market penetration. 

It should also be noted that 83% of businesses feel that leadership should occur at all levels. However, only 5% actually display it. An inclusive leadership model will instantly increase the likelihood of unlocking desired results.

What does an inclusive leadership model look like?

Studies show that UK adults cite leadership skills as the #1 attribute that managers need. In today’s climate, the inclusive leadership style is highly sought. 

Inclusive leadership can be embraced by businesses of all magnitudes. It is often easier to look at global organisations. The following inclusive leadership examples should help you consider what steps can be introduced by your business model.


Google is known for helping leaders make key D&I data-driven decisions by delivering diversity data reports. Meanwhile, the 20% innovation rule allows workers at all levels to work on their ideas and actively get their voices heard. It makes them feel valued and supports the bid for gaining insights from all directions.


The fast food giant’s commitment to bias awareness is shown by its inclusive leadership training schemes. As well as its BETTER TOGETHER: Gender Balance & Diversity Strategy corporate commitment. As well as gender balance, the commitment to diversity extends to all demographics. It focuses on self awareness to remove bias.


Mastercard regularly states that “diversity is what drives better insights, better decisions, and better products. Diversity is the backbone of innovation”. It’s not just a fancy slogan, though, the company often ranks highly for diversity leadership. It notably promotes social media and tech usage from older employees to help them feel involved in ongoing conversations.


The drinks company understands the exponential benefits of diverse teams. Coca Cola runs  a range of programmes for team leaders and employees at all levels of the business. They include Diversity Training, a Diversity Speaker Series, and a new parental benefits policy. Its Coca-Cola Millennial Voices is another shining example of how the organisation actively listens to promote an inclusive culture.

What are the 4 qualities of an inclusive leader?

While inclusive leadership should permeate the whole team. It is a good starting point to allow leaders to walk the talk and set a living example. After all, the importance of what leaders say and do has already been mentioned. Four qualities that every inclusive leader should showcase are listed below;

1.Become self-aware

Overcoming bias within the business must begin with identifying your personal bias. Over 95% of people believe that they are self-aware but just 10% of them actually are.

Take the time to analyse the impact of your background, personal history, and support network. These can often provide a key first step en route to success. Only then can you address any issues.

Self awareness will allow you to avoid personal bias. It will additionally allow you to see yourself in the way that employees or colleagues view you. It is a skill you should encourage all senior and junior workers.

2. Be a good listener

Emotional and cultural intelligence are key attributes for harbouring an inclusive atmosphere. If you want to make employees feel valued, it is essential that you learn to listen. Most people only remember around 20% of spoken conversations. Active listening can, therefore, become an essential part of effective inclusive leadership training.

A good listener doesn’t only enable more meaningful interactions with employees. It is also a skill that allows you to recognise and remove personal bias. 

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3. Promote psychological safety

Psychological safety is a concept that allows people to innovate without fears of consequences. It can reduce stress by 74%.  Perhaps because it allows people to introduce their ideas without feeling fear. Consequently, then, there can be an increase in productivity.

An inclusive leadership model cannot be achieved if you do not actually allow people to voice their ideas. For the best results, you should make employees comfortable with failure as a step en route to success.

4. Make objective decisions

Inclusive leaders must also take emotion out of decision making processes. Working collaboratively helps overcome the #1 source of workplace failures, at least in the eyes of employees. You can also seek feedback from your employees to adapt your leadership style or the daily operations throughout the company itself.

Ultimately, everything you do should be in the interest of fairness too. Challenging poor practices or inequality in the workplace will build trust among all teams. Again, understanding the needs of all parties is central to success.

How can my business embrace inclusive leadership?

Inclusive leadership will remain a priority for companies across all business verticals in 2023. The question is how can you actively promote it? The key is to make conscious changes with immediate results.

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Dedicated inclusive leadership training may cover the development of personal skills, such as active listening and self awareness. It can also focus on team training to ensure that a level of consistency is promoted across the organisation. It is possible to assess and develop at every leadership level.

Some of the characteristic of inclusive leaders are outlined below;

  • Ensure that diversity is celebrated in the workplace. Especially when it comes to board and executive team meetings. The more diverse and intersectional the cohort, the wider and clearer your lens is.
  • Make a point of asking questions and challenge the status quo. Your involvement as a leader will not only allow you to see your team’s perspective. It also allows you to make them feel seen and heard. 
  • Encourage participation from everyone. Inclusivity will be heavily restricted if workers are merely present without actively offering their opinions or insights. Building leaders at all levels of the business will bring the best results.
  • Invest in diversity and inclusion. There is a business case for it. Inclusive teams are capable of effective collaboration. An inclusive workplace results in a high performance culture and high quality decisions being made.

Inclusive leadership has to be exactly that. Inclusive. Up to 80% of companies admit that there is a leadership development gap. 

You can tackle this through outward leadership, such as taking accountability, as well as inward leadership like showing curiosity. This is how you can be a role model for all leadership in your organisation.

Age, gender, race, financial background, and disability are just some of the issues that deserve attention. When everyone is represented, your business stands to reap the rewards. A 1:1 training model can unlock even greater results.

The final word on inclusive leadership

Diversity in leadership is an integral feature for successful businesses to possess. Cultivating a positive work culture is possible when you invest in inclusive leadership training and actively look to promote collaboration. This is an approach that will pay dividends in  2023 and beyond.

To find out more, feel free to get in touch with our  diversity, equity and inclusion experts today.

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