Inclusive leaders (and Everything DiSC)

Inclusive leaders (and Everything DiSC)

Updated August 2021

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.

What business leaders and researchers say about the inclusive leadership style

“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.”
The Leadership Challenges, Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner

“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.”
The Leadership Challenges, Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner

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

“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.”
On Becoming a Leader, Warren Bennis

“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.”
Winning, Jack Welch

“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 Fifth Discipline, Peter Senge

“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.”
The Fifth Discipline, Peter Senge

“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.”
Successful Executive’s Handbook, Susan Gebelein, 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.”
— “Primal Leadership,” Harvard Business Review article by Daniel Goleman, et al.

“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.”
The Handbook for Leaders, Jack Zenger and Joe Folkman

“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.”
Execution: The discipline of getting things done, Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan

“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.”
Execution: The discipline of getting things done, Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan

Additional readings

The Key to Inclusive Leadership, Harvard Business Review
“What makes people feel included in organizations? Feel that they are treated fairly and respectfully, are valued and belong? Many things of course, including an organization’s mission, policies, and practices, as well as co-worker behaviors. But mostly it comes down to leaders. We find that what leaders say and do makes up to a 70% difference as to whether an individual reports feeling included. And this really matters because the more people feel included, the more they speak up, go the extra mile, and collaborate — all of which ultimately lifts organizational performance.”

Leaders finally realise what leadership means, Management Today
“Inclusive leadership gives us a unifying purpose, and it allows us collectively to do a better job, whatever the world throws at us. And frankly, who wouldn’t want that in their teams?”

Deep listening – a productivity hack for leaders, Gulshan Walia
“When a leader listens well, he demonstrates care and respect for his team. People who are respected and cared for, feel a deep commitment, and are willing to put their best foot forward to deliver results. Their productivity is much higher than people who feel disengaged, and are merely complying with the rules.”

4 Ways Managers Can Be More Inclusive, Harvard Business Review
“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? Harvard Business Review
“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.”


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


by Kristeen Bullwinkle and the team
Updated August 2021


Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

ID); if($values[0]!=”){?> ID); echo $values[0]; ?>”/> ID); echo $values[0]; ?>” / >