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How Inclusive Leadership and Belonging Work Together

Everyone wants to be a great leader, and a great leader is an inclusive leader. Inclusive leadership starts with self-awareness. People often believe they are taking steps toward excellent leadership but inadvertently allow their biases to exclude people. As an executive coach, I train managers that inclusive leadership skills and belonging work together. 

Belonging is a basic need for human beings. Everyone can relate to and understand when you feel excluded or different because you are the “only one” in a group. For years when talking about diversity, many people did not talk about equity. Through my years of experience, the missing ingredient to accelerate momentum was belonging. When employees can not only see themselves in leadership, but feel as though they are a part of the larger picture, they develop a sense of belonging and purpose. It strengthens loyalty and creates a greater ROI (Relationships, Outcomes, and Impact) of DEI™ while increasing productivity. 

Senior management could continue to increase their awareness of inclusive leadership by looking at all of their processes, policies, and procedures. By looking through the lens of those who may not feel included or as if they belong, leaders can gain a new perspective and create a better understanding among teams. 

Several resources are available for managers and executives to help their teams become more inclusive. They include training modules on LinkedIn Learning and following industry leaders like Jennifer Brown, Rhodes Perry, Howard Ross, Deepa Purushothaman, and Monica Marquez. There are also many helpful books (you can sign up for my reading list here) and podcasts available.

Though it’s important for executives and managers to take charge of their inclusive leadership journey, everyone can introduce belonging into their workplaces by educating themselves and considering others in their day-to-day decision-making. If we all work together to anchor on humanKIND, we can create more inclusive workplaces.

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