Driving Organizational Success Through Inclusive Leadership


Despite the changing business and personnel landscape, there are still many leaders out there who are failing to grasp the full enormity and meaning of the changes that have resulted in globalization and new paradigms of working in a complex environment. One where the “old ways” of doing things, and specifically managing a business, are no longer applicable. Some of them are thus struggling to survive in a harsh, overly-competitive and fast-paced, results-oriented environment, because they continue to rely on outdated mindsets, clearly not suited to deal with the challenges offered by the contemporary world.

There is ample research indicating that good, adaptive and inclusive leadership is critical to running successful organizations. Essentially, inclusion provides a sense of belonging to people. When they belong, they feel they can share their ideas and comments freely, in a safe and trusting environment, without the fear of ever being rejected or ridiculed. Difference of opinion becomes the centerpiece of conversation, and with diversity appears the space enabling the building of inclusive teams. They provide growth for the individual, the team, and the entire organization.  In fact, it is the only way to ensure that potential becomes evolved, as inclusive leadership creates a sense of togetherness where the best solutions and ideas are built, because people and teams are integrated and empowered to participate in the process that matters.

An inclusive leader motivates and seeks input coming from all those who should have a say. Culture built on inclusive leadership will be most capable at facing challenges associated with finding new markets. A recent Ernst & Young study shows that “high-performing teams – those that embrace the power of different opinions, perspectives and cultural references – are a force to be reckoned with in the global marketplace”. But this is not the only thing that matters: the “side effects” of inclusive leadership, focusing on people rather than race, culture, lifestyle, gender or age, include enhanced teamwork and better innovation, hugely adding to the competitive advantage. This means that in the 21st century, inclusive capabilities must become synonymous with excellent management and leadership. A recent survey by Bonding & Belonging Leadership clearly showed that thanks to inclusive leadership:

  • 78% of employees improved their performance;
  • 85% increased their own self-motivation;
  • 82% increased their problem-solving strategies;
  • 75% improved their team effectiveness and group togetherness,
  • 85% improved their team and organization involvement.

“it is of paramount importance to create spaces that are conducive to allowing critical exchange of ideas that leads to creative thinking.”

The ultimate aim in the context of inclusive leadership is to understand how to bring people together to achieve great outputs. Inclusive leadership is the so-called “oxytocin” which plays a key role. This hormone is influenced by behavior and physiology that originates in the brain, where it is produced by one of its parts, the hypothalamus. It is then transferred to the pituitary gland for release into the bloodstream. As such, it is a hormone of attachment, one that is of crucial significance to leadership when looking for new levels of bonding, togetherness, and the promotion of attachment.

However, there are other significant characteristics of oxytocin that proved crucial in our fieldwork research study, including the level of relationship, the level of stress and the potential for stress reduction. Other elements, such as emotional memories, the level of facilitation, childbirth and breastfeeding, and the reduction of cravings for addictions, the social skills and the protection of instincts and different levels of sleep and overall generosity also played a role. In order to balance a healthy level of oxytocin we need to cultivate it: induce “challenge stress,” empowering employees and teams, involve employees and teams in the decision-making process, build intentional relationships within teams and employees, facilitate the growth and evolution of employees showing vulnerabilities, as well as built on trust and respect.

Under such circumstances teams will be more than happy to share their ideas with superiors and executives. It is of paramount importance to create spaces that are conducive to allowing critical exchange of ideas that leads to creative thinking, while later allowing timeframes to discuss the innovations to be. One should engage with your employees to continually update your personal hard drive with knowledge of any business-related issues – any form of communication will do, including personal meetings, online forums, live chats or others.

Your new role is to proactively seek out, develop and engage people’s potential as a new leader who can then make contributions to the society and affect globalization. But this requires a different approach to leadership, the need to understand the talents, skills, abilities and attitudes demonstrated by the current and future leaders and their organizations.

What’s your new leadership style going to be?