A topic that has been on my mind a lot lately is inclusive leadership. I know there’s a lot being said about diversity inclusion, but inclusive leadership goes way beyond that. It’s about treating all team members fairly and respectfully, and not only the people who may look like you or think like you or even the people that are only willing to say what you want to hear.

Inclusive leadership is about bringing people in and making them feel valued and giving them a safe space to express themselves and contribute. As a leader, it’s crucial that all team members feel welcome to do that. When it comes to inclusive leadership, there’s no box to check, there’s no quota to meet.

Some may believe that having different people from different races or nationalities makes your organization inclusive, but that’s a myth. If there’s no way for them to contribute, if there’s no path, then there’s no inclusion. As a leader, you must be intentional in your actions to create a sense of belonging among your team.

HOW CAN YOU PRACTICE INCLUSIVE LEADERSHIP?

Inclusive leadership starts with humility—the ability to learn from criticism, accepting different viewpoints while seeking insights from others to overcome our own limitations—but it certainly doesn’t stop there.

It also requires courage to speak up and challenge the status quo, which sometimes means ruffling some feathers and making some people uncomfortable. Being an inclusive leader and a change agent sometimes will invite criticism from others, so it’s important to stick to your values, as change requires patience and perseverance.

It is essential to show your commitment. You need to tell people why it matters to you personally, and you also need to walk the walk. Inspirational talks are wonderful, but they’re not enough. It takes action, sometimes even at your own expense. You must give people on the fringes a chance to speak up even if it means at times giving up your own turn. Bring people from the outside into your inner circle or department, and look around to see if you’re in fact making a difference.

Transparency matters. Don’t miss the opportunity to not only share your successes but also your challenges, as you will probably have to tweak your approach along the way. Always invite feedback, as there is always room for improvement.

Cultivate curiosity and keep an open mind. Inclusive leaders understand that people are different and are able to treat them fairly as the unique individuals that they are, while recognizing they are also part of the group. Bringing in a wide array of perspectives from diverse groups will certainly contribute to smarter ideation and mitigate the risk of groupthink and poor decision-making.

As relationships in the workplace become increasingly more complex, you should always think about ways you can model inclusive leadership around the team and foster a better work environment. Invite them to sit at the table to co-create your next conference, your board meeting or even your magazine article. You can start small, but don’t forget to celebrate the small successes and the milestones along the journey.

Executive Director at Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education

Danielle Duran Baron is the Executive Director of the CAATE, Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education, the national accreditor of professional, post-professional and residency athletic training programs. She joined the organization in September 2018. Prior to that, Danielle was the Chief Marketing Officer at ABET, the global accreditor of college and university programs in STEM disciplines. In that role, she directed the organization through an award-winning rebranding initiative and managed the efforts of the marketing, communications and events staff to reflect ABET’s global scope and to reach an increasingly diverse audience.

Bringing 20 years of global experience in communications, branding, marketing, events and business strategy, Danielle has worked in the nonprofit, private and government sectors in the United States and overseas. A journalist by training, her work has been published in the United States, Europe and Latin America.

When not working or volunteering, she enjoys spending time with her family, traveling and teaching her sons Portuguese. Danielle has a bachelor’s degree in communications and international relations from Randolph-Macon Woman’s College, a master’s degree in journalism from New York University and an executive MBA in marketing from Ibmec Business School, in Rio de Janeiro. She is also a Certified Association Executive (CAE) and an ASAE Diversity Executive Leadership Program (DELP) Scholar. A native of Brazil, she is fluent in English, Portuguese and Spanish and conversant in French and German.

Danielle Duran Baron is the Executive Director of the CAATE, Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education, the national accreditor of professional, post-professional and residency athletic training programs. She joined the organization in September 2018. Prior to that, Danielle was the Chief Marketing Officer at ABET, the global accreditor of college and university programs in STEM disciplines. In that role, she directed the organization through an award-winning rebranding initiative and managed the efforts of the marketing, communications and events staff to reflect ABET’s global scope and to reach an increasingly diverse audience. Bringing 20 years of global experience in communications, branding, marketing, events and business strategy, Danielle has worked in the nonprofit, private and government sectors in the United States and overseas. A journalist by training, her work has been published in the United States, Europe and Latin America. When not working or volunteering, she enjoys spending time with her family, traveling and teaching her sons Portuguese. Danielle has a bachelor’s degree in communications and international relations from Randolph-Macon Woman’s College, a master’s degree in journalism from New York University and an executive MBA in marketing from Ibmec Business School, in Rio de Janeiro. She is also a Certified Association Executive (CAE) and an ASAE Diversity Executive Leadership Program (DELP) Scholar. A native of Brazil, she is fluent in English, Portuguese and Spanish and conversant in French and German.

There's More To Discover

Subscribe today for more thought-provoking content.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.