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Most leaders think they are very inclusive....

and you need to take them on a journey to understand what that means and where they may have shortfalls.

It’s the trend for leaders to shout from the roof tops about how supportive they are of diversity and inclusion. And yet the results are pitiful. Why? I call BS! Being inclusive of someone who is different to you is really hard. Managing someone who’s different is even harder.


Let’s be honest, the person in the team who is constantly coming from a different place, doesn’t understand your shorthand instructions, doesn’t understand your subtleties or your jokes – that person can be VERY VERY ANNOYING!


Phew. I thought I was the only one who found managing someone I don’t understand hard! That’s the truth about diversity and inclusion. Diversity and inclusion in practice, in the field, in the day to day… is HARD.


You have to be more patient.

You have to be more tolerant.

You have to explain yourself in multiple ways.

You have to sit next to a colleague on the plane that you don’t really want to hang out with because you have nothing in common.


It’s a whole new skillset to genuinely be able to manage difference. It’s not what we are used to. You don’t know what to do. The leaders who are singing about diversity and inclusion from the pulpit generally have not taken the time to really learn these new skills. It’s about changing the habits of leadership – and changing any habit is hard. It takes practice, repetition and bloody-minded persistence.


“But I’ve done unconscious bias training. I’m really aware of my blind spots now.”


I hate to break it to you, but unconscious bias training doesn’t fix or change anything. Unconscious bias training does not change embedded management habits. Leaders need to take a ‘learning the multiplication tables’ approach to this new way to lead. Remember when your teacher made the whole class stand up and recite the multiplication tables over and over again until you wanted to kill her? Have you ever forgotten them?


Taking the school approach to ‘physical education’ doesn’t work: remember when we were hauled out to the yard once a week to play sport? Done. Tick. Fitness levels in check. Healthy kids.


Yeah right! If leaders have not taken a real ‘multiplication tables’ approach to embedding new habits of inclusive leaders – that’s the sign that there is BS in the air. The pong becomes greater when middle managers are just told to ‘be inclusive’. They may even have KPI’s around it.


Go on – go be ‘inclusive’!!


When there has not been an investment in embedding the new habits of inclusive leaders to middle management level – the holy grail of an ‘inclusive culture’ is never going to happen.


All the rubbish ‘tactics’ and ‘initiatives’ represent money and resources flushed down the toilet. Literally. If you are sick of the stench of BS on diversity and inclusion, it’s time to get real about a new approach. After all, isn’t the definition of insanity trying the same approach over and over again and expecting a different result.







Embedding the 6 habits of an inclusive leader is what we are doing with leaders who want more than the fancy backpack – they want to reach the summit. They know that that involves blood sweat and tears.

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