Inclusive Leadership – More innovation through diversity

Rina Kasumaj
Rina Kasumaj

Inclusive leadership is increasingly becoming a critical skill that helps companies adapt to diverse customers, markets and ideas. At the same time, cognitive and emotional challenges for companies and management levels are increasing. According to the management and strategy consultancy McKinsey, companies with the greatest ethnic diversity are on average 35 percent more profitable.

Diversity is a top priority in the Uhura team: Uhura supports international companies in the management of digital offerings, both in terms of technical and content support. With an inclusive team, we are often better able to position and manage projects in a targeted and tailored way. The diversity of perspectives and experiences has an enriching effect, different perspectives have an impact on content, tone of voice, design and even UX. The diversity of staff releases energy and commitment, and also allows a broader range of clients and staff to be addressed. Globalised markets increase requests from international customers with different cultural backgrounds, digitalisation also enables completely new and young companies with a start-up generation to enter relevant markets, and ultimately companies need to use all the resources of a company to find and retain talent.

A tolerant and inclusive HR policy in companies is increasingly attractive for potential employees, especially GenY, as salary plays a less important role for them and a multicultural, diverse and open corporate culture is all the more important. Equal opportunities therefore play an enormous role for young employees. 

A 2019 study by the think tank Catalyst found that 45 percent of positive employee experiences regarding integration can be attributed to the inclusive leadership behaviour of their superiors. Globalisation and the opening of markets mean that it is increasingly common for people from different backgrounds to work together. For this reason alone, it is indispensable for managers to deal with the topic of diversity. The results of a study by the Harvard Business School in 2020 showed that the behaviour of managers is up to 70 percent decisive for whether a person feels included in the workplace. The more people feel included, the more their work performance increases and the greater their willingness to show full commitment on the job - which ultimately increases the company's performance. This is also reflected in Uhura's work: the Uhura team consists of employees from a wide range of ethnic and cultural backgrounds, two-thirds of whom are female and are represented right up to management level. The largest age difference is 25 years.

Inclusive leaders exhibit six characteristic features that make for an agile and resilient company:

Visible commitment:

You articulate an authentic commitment to diversity, hold others accountable and make diversity and inclusion a personal priority. Inclusive leaders are committed to diversity because they know how to use it well. You are aware that diverse teams can increase the efficiency and productivity of a company.

Humility means courage:

They are modest about their abilities, admit mistakes and create the space for others to contribute. Inclusive leaders openly question the status quo, do not shy away from discourse and are equally humble about their own strengths and weaknesses.

Awareness of biases:

Recognising unconscious biases, not only on a personal level but also on a corporate level, is an important starting point. Inclusive leaders are aware that both they and their companies have blind spots and unconscious biases. Nevertheless, they are committed to actively counteracting them.

Curiosity about others:

Diversity is a resource for the team. Inclusive leaders are characterised by their open and non-judgmental mindset, their need to understand how others experience the world, and a high degree of tolerance for ambiguity. Curiosity provides an important tool in the learning and development process. Without learning processes, no new insights can be gained - which can quickly become a disadvantage in the constantly evolving dynamic world of work.

Cultural intelligence:

You are attentive to the culture of others. On the one hand, it is important to learn to understand and analyse cultural similarities and differences. On the other hand, inclusive leaders are aware that their own cultural background can influence their own values and world views.

Effective collaboration:

They empower others, pay attention to diverse exchanges and value team cohesion. In inclusive work environments, individuals are nurtured and thinking through diverse groups is purposeful - this can be more profitable than in homogeneous teams. This has an impact not only within the company, but also on different clients.

Due to advancing globalisation, not only new markets and target groups are opening up, but also opportunities and possibilities that call for allowing renewal. The goal of inclusive leadership is to create, change and innovate while keeping the needs of all in mind. The Uhura team advocates a dynamic and flexible leadership style that meets the needs of the market and society. It is horizontal and team-oriented, enabling a connection between different sectors of society and cultures.

Business is always people business. The best employees at Uhura have a passion for their job and the project at hand. Such employees want to work for great companies and their products and achieve the best for the people they work for or with. To create and implement the best solutions, they need an environment that is open, appreciative and gives them a reason to work hard. This requires feedback, fair treatment and clear decisions. In such an environment, clients and agency partners also work best together.

Share this article