In recent years, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) have become increasingly important topics in the Canadian workplace. With a diverse population and a growing recognition of the benefits of inclusivity, employers recognize the importance of creating a workplace culture that is welcoming and supportive of all employees. In this article, we will discuss why being an inclusive leader in Canada is important and provide some tips on becoming an effective inclusive leader.
Why Inclusive Leadership is Important in Canada
Canada is a diverse country with people from different backgrounds, cultures, and religions. Workplace diversity is a critical element of the Canadian economy and society. A diverse workforce brings together people with different perspectives, experiences, and skill sets. It promotes creativity, innovation, and productivity and can give organizations a competitive advantage. However, diversity alone is not enough; inclusion is just as important. Inclusion means creating a culture that respects and values differences, where everyone feels welcome and can bring their whole selves to work.
Inclusive leadership is critical to creating a workplace culture of inclusion. Inclusive leaders actively seek out and value diverse perspectives and experiences. They create an environment where everyone feels heard and valued and foster a respect and collaboration culture. Inclusive leadership is not only the right thing to do, but it also has tangible benefits for organizations. Studies have shown that inclusive workplaces have higher employee engagement, lower turnover rates, and better financial performance.
How to Become an Effective Inclusive Leader
Now that we have established why inclusive leadership is essential let us discuss how to become an effective inclusive leader.
- Develop Self-Awareness
The first step in becoming an inclusive leader is to develop self-awareness. This means understanding your biases and assumptions and how they may impact your interactions with others. Reflect on your own experiences and how they have shaped your perspectives. Seek out feedback from others to gain a better understanding of how you are perceived. This will help you recognize when your biases may influence your decisions or actions and allow you to make more inclusive choices.
- Educate Yourself and Others
Inclusive leaders must know about different cultures, identities, and experiences. They should take the time to learn about different perspectives and actively seek out opportunities to educate themselves and others. This may involve attending training sessions, reading articles or books, or conversing with people from different backgrounds. Inclusive leaders should also encourage their team members to do the same and provide opportunities for learning and development.
- Create an Inclusive Culture
Inclusive leaders create a culture of respect and collaboration where everyone feels heard and valued. They set the tone for their team and model inclusive behaviours. They should actively seek out diverse perspectives and experiences when making decisions and encourage their team members to do the same. Inclusive leaders should also address any behaviour not aligned with the organization's values of respect and inclusivity.
- Foster Belonging
Inclusive leaders foster a sense of belonging for all employees. This means creating an environment where everyone feels welcome and can bring their whole selves to work. Inclusive leaders should take the time to get to know their team members and understand their unique strengths and challenges. They should create opportunities for team members to connect and build relationships with each other. Inclusive leaders should also be mindful of the language they use and the messages they send to ensure that everyone feels included and valued.
- Hold Yourself and Others Accountable
Finally, inclusive leaders hold themselves and others accountable for creating an inclusive workplace. This means setting clear expectations for behaviour and addressing any issues that arise. Inclusive leaders should be willing to have difficult conversations and take action to address any behaviour not aligned with the organization's values. They should also hold their team members accountable for their behaviour and provide feedback when necessary.
To hold others accountable, inclusive leaders should create a safe space for team members to voice their concerns. This means actively listening to their feedback and taking it seriously. Inclusive leaders should also ensure that there are transparent processes in place for reporting any incidents of discrimination or harassment, and they should take swift action to address these issues.
Inclusive leadership is essential to creating a workplace culture that is welcoming and supportive of all employees. In Canada, with its diverse population and economy, creating an inclusive workplace is not only the right thing to do but also good for business. Inclusive workplaces have higher employee engagement, lower turnover rates, and better financial performance.
Becoming an inclusive leader requires self-awareness, education, and a commitment to creating a culture of respect and collaboration. Inclusive leaders foster a sense of belonging for all employees and hold themselves and others accountable for creating an inclusive workplace. By following these tips, you can become an effective inclusive leader and help create a workplace culture that promotes diversity, equity, and inclusion.
If you want to learn more about inclusive leadership, you can explore our Inclusive Leadership Executive Certificate program.
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Kanee, H. (2020, August 10). Five ways to foster inclusive leadership in Canada. The Globe and Mail. https://www.theglobeandmail.com/business/careers/leadership/article-five-ways-to-foster-inclusive-leadership-in-canada/
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