Unconscious Bias | Inclusive Leadership
The Art of Leading Inclusively | Unconscious Bias and Its Effect
Is there a lack of diversity in the leadership ranks at your organization? Are there departments at your company that consist of either all privileged groups or all minority groups? Are employees from underrepresented groups leaving your company faster than anyone else?
As humans, we tend to look at the world and those around us through our particular lens, influenced by geography, upbringing, education and many other factors. In professional environments, as more candid conversations happen around leadership and the need for more inclusive cultures, evidence of bias becomes apparent.
Unconscious bias has been gaining notoriety in recent months. The upside is that there are strategies companies can implement to mindfully help leaders understand that all humans consciously and unconsciously practice forms of bias, and there are tools to reframe thoughts and behaviors in more inclusive and positive ways.
Inclusive Cultures Are Engaged Cultures
From an inclusive leadership perspective, bias is hurtful to underrepresented populations, including women, minorities, and other members of protected classes. Employees who experience bias are less engaged and have higher attrition rates, which, in turn, means companies experience loss in the bottom line and reputational damage.
Linkage recently finalized five years of research on what makes great leaders great. We discovered that leaders who exhibited behaviors related to 5 key commitments are the most successful. And, yes, engagement is one of them. Read the research summary now.
In the current environment, and in light of the data on the impact of bias, companies are becoming more honest with themselves. Many are course-correcting and innovating their cultures to be more inclusive. Addressing bias is seen as an opportunity. But what's the best way to go about it?
Inclusive Leadership Is Good for Business
While Linkage recognizes the importance of traditional end-result diversity metrics (e.g., tracking the percentages of women and men at each leadership level in an organization), we know that the power in reducing bias is not at the high-visibility point of hire or promotion; it is in how organizations involve employees from underrepresented groups.
Solutions and tools must center on the everyday decisions that leaders make, decisions about who to network with, brainstorm with, and invite to take the lead on projects–decisions that will engage and provide opportunities to traditionally untapped or less-tapped resources. Only with broad and thoughtful engagement will organizations be able to overcome bias, and recognize and affirm diverse talent.
How do we help companies build inclusive leadership skills? How can you get organizational leaders to make everyday decisions differently?
For All Employees
Leader and Manager Training enables your people-managers to understand how the best intentions of a decision maker do not always lead to fair and inclusive outcomes. Through experiential learning, participants test and reflect on their own unconscious biases and behavior, recognize opportunities, and have a chance to practice inclusive leadership skills.
Supplements to Training
Self-Awareness Building deepens personal reflection through 360 feedback on the Linkage Inclusive Leadership AssessmentTM and discovery approaches.
Executive Coaching involves individual work with leaders to identify and overcome personal or organizational biases. Typical focus areas include:
- Communicating inclusively
- Implementing decision and meeting facilitation strategies to increase inclusion
- Taking executive/leader symbolic action to build an inclusive culture
For Organizational Leaders of Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) Efforts
Strategy Sessions bring stakeholders across your organization together for a short high-impact facilitated experience to identify leading indicator metrics, and create overall or targeted D&I action plans.
Interested in learning more?
Reducing Unconscious Bias and Fostering an Inclusive Culture
Our Insight Brief: Diversity Is the Beginning, Not the End
Unconscious Bias Workshop
Featured on 60 Minutes
Are you an inclusive leader?
Insights from our leadership experts