Inclusive workplaces need leaders who are self-aware, not self-conscious

Inclusivity is becoming one of the UK’s most prioritised business objectives. Every business leader must listen to their employees’ experiences and ask themselves: Have I witnessed racism or bias in my workplace? And what can I do to make sure I am supporting greater diversity and inclusion within my team?

Engaging with these topics can be difficult, and for some people, it will cause a great deal of discomfort. From my own experience as a leadership trainer, I have found that many managers feel extremely awkward when talking about diversity and inclusion. Often this is because they believe they should know how to deal with every aspect of it but feel self-conscious about using certain language or approaching individuals outside of their own network.

It is this self-consciousness that prevents many leaders from being truly inclusive. It stops them from leaning into the more difficult conversations and taking progressive action, all for fear of getting it wrong. This leads to inactivity and causes them to surround themselves with people they perceive as similar to them.

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