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Moving the Dial: Measuring Inclusive Leadership

April 30, 2014

The following is an excerpt from an article written by Linkage’s own Charley Morrow that’s currently running in Profiles in Diversity Journal.—Ed.

“Have you ever worked for an inclusive leader? If you have, you know it. These leaders are special because of the positive impact they have on individuals and organizations—they encourage everyone to engage in the organization’s mission in their own unique way.

“They encourage and develop the best in others, and shine the spotlight on others’ accomplishments. They embrace the diversity of their workforce and customers, and understand the value of having everyone’s voice heard. Employees love working for inclusive leaders and often change jobs to stay close to these special leaders.

“And if you’ve worked for a non-inclusive leader, you may have thought about leaving more than staying.

“In the 1990s, many leaders were encouraged to believe they had all the answers, as well as the vision, for the organization. Inclusive leadership may be the opposite of that. Today’s organizations are flatter, more collaborative, and much more diverse. Smart managers ask for others’ insights and amplify the strengths of all employees, rather than taking a top-down approach.

“My journey to study and understand inclusive leadership started in an everyday coaching conversation. A woman I coached told me she had never had a direct leader who made her feel included, and she felt her race was a contributing factor. As a white man, I had little experience with feeling excluded, so I had not thought about inclusion until that conversation. As a psychologist with 20 years of experience assessing and developing leaders, I was fascinated. What is inclusive leadership? What sorts of behaviors are the hallmarks of this type of leadership? When I started to ask people about being included at work and whether they have had an inclusive leader, I heard mixed stories—some had, but many had not. Stories of inclusive leaders were warm and glowing, while stories of exclusion were filled with negative feelings and disengagement.

“Inclusive leadership is not a new idea. However, there was no good way to assess inclusion, let alone track a leader’s progress toward inclusiveness. My personal journey, paired with a request from Linkage’s Institute for Leading Diversity & Inclusion team, led to the research to develop Linkage’s Inclusive Leadership Assessment.

“…Given the competition in today’s global and diverse markets, employee diversity is not enough. Organizations must learn how to bring and engage diversity—of people, experience, and thinking—into the conversation and decision-making process. Through this new model, and our corresponding assessment, Linkage has created a measurable way for organizations and individual leaders to track their progress toward becoming more inclusive.”

Get started by taking our inclusive leadership assessment quiz.

Morrow_Charley_2Charley Morrow is Vice President of Assessments at Linkage. He has over 20 years of experience designing, implementing, and evaluating training, individual assessment, and organizational-transformation interventions. He’s an expert in developing assessments and methodologies for individual, team, and organizational motivation and performance. Follow him on Twitter @CharleyMorrow.

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