How can CEOs successfully lead the creation of inclusive cultures?


Further Insights from our ‘Future Workplace’ Webinar event

Today to share the key insights of our recent ‘Future Workplace’ Webinar event, with the focus on understanding how CEOs can lead the way in creating inclusive cultures. There’s no doubt that some of the goals for the future that our expert panelists discussed need to become a reality fast for organisations to survive. 

So, what do future leaders need to focus on for both men and women to flourish in the future workplace and drive inclusive cultures?

i) The workplace needs to change, and this starts with fluid leadership. For two to three generations, we have seen many organisations lead by management and control, mainly with hiring boards which consist of the same people with the same opinions

ii) The meaning of leadership must become more inclusive and move away from the traditional definition to include qualities such as empathy, trust, loyalty and vulnerability – these are traits that are particularly important today

iii) We can’t drive inclusive cultures without boards that have the breadth of perspective. The focus should be on leadership NOT management

iv) Leaders – both males and females – need to drive the conversation around sensitive topics, including maternity/paternity leave, menopause etc. They need to be able to be open and bold on topics that are difficult and, if comfortable, about personal stories, to turn policy into education, acceptance, and reality. This is especially important in today’s climate, as the ambiguity around sickness pay, loneliness and poor mental health, financial hardship and redundancies is a very real reality for some

v) Instead of leading from the front, successful leaders will lead from behind where they can view what is happening across the organisation, gain perspective and creditability

vi) They must be authentic. CEOs that have a work persona that has derived from business schools are often unhappy and feel that they can’t be their authentic self in the workplace

vii) Strategy and policy have been the number one priority for CEOs up until now. Traditionally, a policy is seen as the key driver for change. However, the focus needs to be on culture and leadership informs this. While the policy is good to have, it’s essential that people feel comfortable enough in the workplace to talk about all issues.Successful leaders see people as human beings (not by gender or diversity) and therefore understand that people are different. Keeping difference in mind, leaders are inquisitive and always ask questions to find out more about what they’re not familiar with

viii) Not all leaders have a personal story to tell – and that’s OK. Leaders can show empathy and admit that understanding difference can be hard, even if you haven’t experienced it first-hand

Ultimately, culture doesn’t need to be daunting for leaders and CEOs. It’s the small, simple steps that make all the difference

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