Inclusive Leadership Articles

Explore Articles on Inclusive Leadership and Learn continuously:

Start by reading the following articles to learn how to be an inclusive leader by considering many angles of learning and exclusionary experiences by those most marginalised. These are only some of many that have been curated and shared here with author links where available so that you can continue to learn at your own pace.


Anti-Racism: Why Your DEI Agenda Will Never Be A Success Without It by Carmen Morris: Racial discrimination is a global issue that has been an ongoing and commonly ignored problem. Staying silent has proven to be deadly, making one complicit in the system of oppression. 2020 has proven to be a historical year surrounding the pandemic, and now, the uprising against racial injustice after George Floyd’s recent death. Protests have spanned across the nation with over 30 countries bringing awareness to the racism that exists today. These protests in combination with social media have exposed companies, brands, individuals and even the NFL for their behaviours, comments and practices. While many brands are posting black squares in response to #blackouttuesday or tweeting #blacklivesmatter, very few are creating conversations or doing anything more than that. David Weisenfeld, J.D., XpertHR podcast host, advised: “Don’t make a statement just to make a statement. It needs to be meaningful.” More than ever, consumers and communities are looking to brands and individuals to see how they’re responding to the protests and what action they’re taking to promote equality and social justice. Read more to learn why an inclusive leader needs to put anti-racism at the heart of employee engagement, inclusion, success and retention – everything a meaningful DEI agenda will aim to create.


To Foster Innovation, Cultivate a Culture of Intellectual Bravery by Timothy R. Clark: When an organization stops innovating, it is only a matter of time before it fails. But what causes a company to cease coming up with new ideas? Over the last 20 years, I’ve studied many failed organizations and one of the things I consistently see is an almost imperceptible erosion of intellectual bravery. Intellectual bravery is a willingness to disagree, dissent, or challenge the status quo in a setting of social risk in which you could be embarrassed, marginalized, or punished in some way. When intellectual bravery disappears, organizations develop patterns of willful blindness. Bureaucracy buries boldness. Efficiency crushes creativity. From there, the status quo calcifies and stagnation sets in. The responsibility for creating a culture of intellectual bravery lies in leadership. As a leader, you set the tone, create the vibe, and define the prevailing norms. Whether or not your company has a culture of intellectual bravery depends on your ability to establish a pattern of rewarded rather than punished vulnerability. Read this excellent article to better understand your role as an inclusive leader and why you need to create and cultivate a culture of intellectual bravery if you want to foster innovation and embrace diversity in all its facets.


Exclusion and trauma are impacting the workforce. Here’s how to fix it and heal by Rajkumar Neogy: An epigenetic coach says the business case for inclusion is simple: “Every single time you are mean to an employee, interrupt them, or dismiss them in some way, you are shutting down the part of their brain that is making you money.” This is a must read if you want to be an inclusive leader. Rajkumari Neogy is an epigenetic coach and executive consultant focused on the intersection of neurobiology, culture, and empathy in today’s business world. She is also the author of “The WIT Factor: Shifting the Workplace Paradigm by Becoming Your Optimal Self” with mind-expanding insights on how to understand exclusion, the neurobiology and psychology of it and how to pivot for inclusivity.

4 Ways You Can Tackle Racial Discrimination In Your Workplace  by Carmen Morris: Many conversations on race equity, have centred around how best to bring about the required changes, to enable more equitable workplace environments. They have largely promoted activities where people of colour are afforded the same career changes as their white colleagues, be it through structural changes, or projects to extend learning around cultural differences. However, leaders have largely sought to develop the race equality agenda, without the acknowledgment that there are no effective solutions for systematic and behavioural change an active realization of anti-racism. Read more about the ways in which you can tackle racial discrimination because this is central to being an inclusive leader.


Why DEI And Anti-Racism Work Needs To Decenter Whiteness by Janice Gassam Asare: Following what some would call the Racial Revolution of 2020, companies far and wide have announced their commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) and anti-racism. DEI jobs in corporate America and higher education have increased exponentially since the killing of George Floyd in 2020. It seems like every industry has been scrambling to demonstrate their pledges and promises to promote more inclusive environments by hiring DEI practitioners and anti-racism educators. While the sudden interest in DEI and anti-racism is encouraging, there must be a concerted effort to ensure that the diversity education that is being done doesn’t centre whiteness. What does it mean to centre and prioritize whiteness in DEI and anti-racism work? DEI practitioners and anti-racism educators are often hired into toxic spaces where leaders claim they want to foster more equity, diversity, inclusion and belonging. More consideration must be given to how much of this work centres the feelings of white people with little focus on the feelings of oppressed and marginalized groups. Read more about why decentring Whiteness is needed. Definitely read this if you are a White leader and on your inclusion journey.


How To Dismantle Racism In The Workplace: It Starts At The Top by Carmen Morris: Much of the work to manage diversity and inclusion has focused on creating diversity networks and events. Since the death of George Floyd, there has been a marked change shift in the way that Black people view the overall effectiveness of these activities, particularly when they are stand-alone and do not form part of a comprehensive change agenda. I have written previously about the dangers of hastily co-opting Black employees to lead the race equality agenda. The top dressing of race equality issues only serves to protract and exacerbate workplace inequalities. Many leadership teams remain content with procuring the services of their Black employees in an effort to make this change a reality. There continues to be an urgent need for leadership commitment to developing an anti-racist agenda, that subsumes both behavioural and attitudinal change within leadership, in an effort to embed diversity and racial equality. Read more to learn how to dismantle racism in the workplace as an inclusive leader.


Building inclusive workplaces for a diverse workforce: Feeling welcomed and included has a huge positive effect on whether we feel good when we’re at work, our ability to perform in our role, and our overall wellbeing, too. But the benefits aren’t limited to individual employees – there’s a strong business case supported by research telling us that diverse and inclusive workplaces provide clear wellbeing, productivity, and retention benefits. Read more to gain insights on how to build inclusive workplaces where diverse workforces thrive.


Eight ways to improve diversity in the workplace By Bridget Miller: Diversity can benefit the employer in many ways. Having a diverse group of employees helps to ensure that there will be a wide spectrum of ideas, backgrounds, and skill sets that can help the organisation to have more innovative ideas and less likelihood of tunnel vision that comes from not having enough differing perspectives. Read more to discover eight ways to improve the diversity levels in your workplace and get more of the benefits that come from having a diverse workforce.

Eleven Strategies for Achieving A More Diverse and Productive Work Environment by Theodore Henderson: When public companies release information on how their policies keep up with the Employee Non-Discrimination Act, it sets an impressive standard for other businesses to live up to. Citigroup, Coca-Cola, IngramMicro, Oracle and JPMorgan Chase — to name a select few — may have the funds to manage diversity better than most, but managing diversity in the workplace isn’t as capital intensive as it seems. Workplace diversity is achievable by businesses regardless of nature, size or budget. It can revolutionize the way business is done today the same way it did since the first models were drawn in the ’60s. Managing diversity in the workplace, however, shouldn’t end with federal laws or with top management of corporations. There should be involvement in every level of leadership in a company. Since everyone benefits in the triumph of a business, there must be a collective effort when it comes to leading in a diverse workplace. It should be made clear to every employee to take an open attitude to create and promote a diverse environment. This makes it possible to plant the beginnings of a successful business built on creativity and innovation. Read more about the best way to achieve a productive and diverse environment where success is achieved not just by leading by example but with the use of specific strategies.


Empowering Diversity: Why leaders need to own inclusion by Amy HayesJamie Hechinger: This article was co-written by Russell Reynolds Associates Consultants Amy Hayes and Jamie Hechinger and published in USA Today’s insert on Diversity and Inclusion. The piece shared insights on how to be an inclusive leader. Many companies understand “diversity” but struggle to grasp “inclusion” in concrete terms. Corporate talent strategies tend to overemphasize the pipeline as being the barrier and underestimate how culture can catalyze (or deter) the recruitment and retention of a more diverse workforce. Furthermore, inclusive cultures are not just actualized by corporate policy, but also by open, empathetic, empowering leaders who enable a sense of “belonging” among groups and individuals, thereby creating opportunities for all employees to realize their unique contribution. Diversity is a seat at the table. Inclusion is an invitation to have a voice at that table. Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) is a business imperative. Inclusive leaders are critical to companies that plan to stay relevant and resilient. Our research shows that employees at companies whose leaders champion inclusion and diversity are 25% more engaged, 47% more creative and 43% more likely to stay in their roles. Read more about how can you become an inclusive leader?


Empowering Diversity and Inclusion means emphasising the AND by John M. Roberts: More progressive HR leaders that we must move beyond simplistic notions of diversity qua “expanded difference” and embrace profoundly inclusive behaviours, something that feels infinitely more difficult. Read more to learn why this is an important area that needs embracing if you truly want to be an inclusive leader.


Five ways to make sure your office really is diverse, inclusive and welcoming by Felicity H. Barber: In 2009, I graduated from the London School of Economics and Political Science with a master’s in gender. I’d read Judith Butler, Hélène Cixous, and Simone de Beauvoir, and I was on a mission to change the world. Yes, I was ready to work, but I wanted more; I wanted to make the office a fairer and more inclusive place. I may have known the subject academically, but I didn’t know that the world of feminist philosophy and the realities of the modern workplace reside in different galaxies. Six years and several jobs in politics and corporate finance later, I’ve learned how to put the theory into practice as well as how to show leadership on diversity—wherever you are in your career. Read more to learn how to make sure your office really is diverse, inclusive and welcoming.


Three Ways to Empower Diversity in the Workplace by Kelsey Perez: It’s easy to have a page on your company website devoted to diversity and inclusion initiatives, but what good are these without commitment from your employees? Diverse thinking is a necessary ingredient for a company to remain innovative. One of the many benefits of diversity and inclusion in the workplace is that there’s never a shortage of creative ideas and different solutions to keep it moving forward. Gain more inclusion and diversity ideas for the workplace in our latest [whitepaper]. Want to see your employees more involved in your organization’s diversity and inclusion initiatives? Read more to discover three ways to do so.


Why The “Sharon Osbourne Effect” Needs To Be Checked by Ezinne Ukoha: This is an important insightful read, especially for White women leaders on their inclusion journey, and for White leaders generally, as this article will help you understand why a privileged white woman’s attempt at centering her victimhood above the Black woman she claimed as a ‘friend’ wasn’t received well, particularly when Osbourne had the audacity to berate Underwood for daring to showcase her sensitivity about the triggering subject of racism. White tears and the employment of fragility to deflect away from the experience of racism by Black people has a damaging impact and truly inclusive leaders understand this and step into such situations to address the White individual involved. Read this article to understand this perspective and lived experience to learn how and why you need to be a more inclusive leader, especially when you are a White leader.


Exploring the label of ‘the angry black woman’ By Dr Valerie Daniel @Valerie_JKD: Inclusive leaders understand stereotypes and how these can impact performance and communication assessment, create differences in treatment and expectations and why they need to consciously and continuously keep themselves in check to avoid falling into the trap of stereotypical thinking and labelling. Read this article to understand real lived experience which while related from the author’s perspective is frequent, common and regularly related by those like the author and people of colour but is not mainstreamed and often disbelieved.


Author collections and online resources:

Explore the following author collections and online resources which you can subscribe to on LinkedIn, YouTube and elsewhere for the latest articles to self-educate continuously and learn at your own pace to become a consistent inclusive leader.

  • Timothy R. Clark ( author): Explore and learn further by watching this quick YouTube introductory video on the 4 stages of Psychological Safety by Dr. Timothy R. Clark. Visit the LeaderFactor website for certification and more information.
  • Carmen Morris ( author)on anti-racism, diversity, equity, inclusion, inclusive leadership insights and more. Follow on LinkedIn for regular posts.
  • Janice Gassam Asare ( author)on inclusive practice, anti-racism, the experience and dynamics impacting Black communities and communities of colour and more. Follow on LinkedIn for regular posts.
  • Paul GorskiCheck out articles, publications, resources, training and courses on the EdChange website which has a lot of free equity resources including workshops and training, publications and research workshop. Equity Literacy Institute is a sister website that has a wealth of free and affordable equity literacy resources and courses as well which are specifically helpful for educators or those new to equity and inclusion, free and low-cost courses available for self-education.
  • Ken BlanchardExplore and learn about Servant Leadership (the better model of inclusive leadership over and above the traditional leadership model) and what it is about. Visit YouTube to watch Ken Blanchard on Servant Leadership. Resources are available on Ken Blanchard’s website as well.
  • Rajkumari NeogyExplore and learn more about the epigenetics of teams, neuroscience led culture change and leadership, team management approaches. Visit YouTube to watch The Epigenetics of Teams with Rajkumari Neogy | Responsive Conference 2018 and also read articles written by Rajkumari on and other websites easily found through a google search of her name.
  • Lily ZhengFollow on LinkedIn and search for their work on Amazon to learn from the daily wisdom, intersectional LGBTQIA+ & Race leader insights, tactical and strategic knowledge shared. Too many resources to share – encourage self-exploration and learning.
  • Professor Amanda Kirby: Follow on LinkedIn for deep and practical insights on neurodivergence and how these considerations and needs play out in workplaces and within communities for those impacted.