Inclusive leaders (and Everything DiSC)

Inclusive leaders (and Everything DiSC)

The kind of leader who succeeds today is the leader who can bring people together and make great things happen through collaboration.

— Bill Boulding, dean of Duke’s Fuqua School of Business

Continuing our examination of the 8 dimensions of leadership, we have reached the inclusive leader. We hope this listing of additional readings can extend your trainings and conversations through assignments, book groups, or lunch discussions about leadership. No matter what our own style of leadership, we all have something to learn from the styles that come more easily to others.

Inclusive leadersWhat is an inclusive leader?

Inclusive leaders tend to create collaborative and understanding environments. You’re likely to see them as soft-spoken, patient, good listeners, aware of the needs and talents of those they work with. However, you might think they are afraid of change or underestimate their critical thinking skills.

If you’re an inclusive leader you might notice that you have a desire to surround yourself with the familiar, to internalize problems, and to have a strong need for harmony. You probably didn’t become a leader to gain status.

Goals: Harmony, stability, acceptance

Would increase effectiveness through: Displaying self-confidence, revealing true feelings

Strengths of the inclusive leader:

  • They tend to be very people-oriented.
  • They’re often able to create a warm, safe environment.
  • They’re able to overlook other people’s flaws.
  • They tend to deliver reliable results.
  • They’re often good listeners.
  • They tend to be patient.
  • They’re willing to make compromises.
  • They tend to show appreciation for others’ contributions.

—Source: The 8 Dimensions of Leadership

What can we learn from inclusive leaders?

cartCurious about your own style? Take this quick leadership assessment.

Readings to support the inclusive leadership style

During the  creation of Everything DiSC 363 for Leaders and Everything DiSC Work of Leaders and their corresponding books, Inscape Publishing’s authors and researchers reviewed a number of writings about leadership.  Here are a few they reference for descriptions, attitudes and skills of affirming leaders.

The Leadership Challenge, by Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner
“The simple act of listening to what other people have to say and appreciating their unique points of view demonstrates your respect for others and their ideas.”

“Knowing that trust is key, exemplary leaders make sure that they consider alternate viewpoints, and they make use of other people’s expertise and abilities.”

“Leadership is a dialogue, not a monologue. To enlist support, leaders must have intimate knowledge of people’s dreams, hopes, aspirations, visions, and values.”

On Becoming a Leader, by Warren Bennis
“Leaders need people around them who have contrary views, who are devil’s advocates, ‘variance sensors’ who can tell them the difference between what is expected and what is really going on.”

Winning, by Jack Welch
“I’m not saying that everyone’s opinions should be put into practice or every single complaint needs to be satisfied. That’s what management judgment is all about. Obviously, some people have better ideas than others; some people are smarter or more experienced or more creative. But everyone should be heard and respected. They want it and you need it.”

The Fifth Discipline, by Peter Senge
“Openness emerges when two or more individuals become willing to suspend their certainty in each other’s presence. They become willing to share their thinking and susceptible to having their thinking influenced by one another. And…they gain access to depth of understanding not accessible otherwise.”

“The discipline of team learning starts with ‘dialogue,’ the capacity of members of a team to suspend assumptions and enter into a genuine ‘thinking together.’ To the Greeks dia-logos meant a free-flowing of meaning through a group, allowing the group to discover insights not attainable individually.”

Successful Executive’s Handbook, by Susan Gebelein, et al
“Avoid personal attacks or put-downs when you challenge someone’s idea or analysis. This will help you both focus on the substantive issues and avoid damaging your relationship.”

Primal Leadership,” HBR article by Daniel Goleman, et al
“Socially aware executives do more than sense other people’s emotions, they show that they care. Further, they are experts at reading the currents of office politics. Thus, resonant leaders often keenly understand how their words and actions make others feel, and they are sensitive enough to change them when that impact is negative”

The Handbook for Leaders, by Jack Zenger and Joe Folkman
“One of the best ways to communicate is to get others to communicate! Interestingly, the worst communicators focus solely on getting their message across. The best communicators check  people’s reactions and get their ideas.”

Execution: The discipline of getting things done, by Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan
“Only the leader can set the tone of the dialogue in the organization. Dialogue is the core of culture and the basic unit of work. How people talk to each other absolutely determines how well the organization will function.”

“Her [the capable leader’s] leadership skills are such that everyone present is engaged in the dialogue, bringing everyone’s viewpoint out into the open and assessing the degree and nature of buy-in. It’s not simply for her managers to learn from her and she from them; it’s a way to diffuse the knowledge to everyone in the plan.”


Links to and are for your convenience. We receive no remuneration for these links. Personality Profile Solutions, LLC, is an Everything DiSC – A Wiley brand – Partner.


We offer these additional readings:

4 Ways Managers Can Be More Inclusive,
“They boldly depart from old standbys like credentials-based hiring, command and control, hierarchy, and even traditional goal setting.”

Do You Know Who Holds Your Office Together? HBR blogs
“Plenty of organizations believe that money is how you keep score: their standard measures for assessing employees’ impact are tied to obvious metrics of profitability. But tending also increases productivity and, hence, profitability, so it should be measured too.”

Are You a Collaborative Leader? Harvard Business Review
“Those who climbed the corporate ladder in silos while using a “command and control” style can have a difficult time adjusting to the new realities. Conversely, managers who try to lead by consensus can quickly see decision making and execution grind to a halt. Crafting the right leadership style isn’t easy.”

Three Leadership Traits that Never Go Out of Style, HBR blogs
Trust, empathy, and mentorship

Nice or Tough: Which Approach Engages Employees Most? HBR blogs
“In our view, the lesson then is that those of you who consider yourself to be drivers should not be afraid to be the ‘nice guy.’ And all of you aspiring nice guys should not view that as incompatible with setting demanding goals.”


Do you have any additional readings to add to this list?


by Kristeen Bullwinkle and the team
Updated October 2018


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