This is an excerpt from a blog posted on the Pilotlight website to celebrate International Women’s Day …
Amy has almost 25 years of IT and management consultancy experience. She’s currently a director at Kalimia Consulting, specialising in business and digital transformation, strategy development, transition planning, service proposition development, marketing and communications.
Amy is a trustee and Chair of the Development Board at Tender, a London based charity that works to prevent domestic abuse and violence in the lives of young people and adults through education and the arts. Alongside being a Board Director of ella Forums, she’s been a Pilotlighter since 2012.
Define an inclusive leader – what traits do you think great leaders possess?
“In my opinion, the main traits great inclusive leaders possess are empathy, courage, patience, open-mindedness, self-awareness and humility.
Empathetic leaders can really feel and understand how assumptions, prejudices and unconscious bias can affect an individual. Having patience allows leaders to take time to listen to and connect with others properly. I also believe great leaders must have lots of courage, so that they are not afraid to challenge negative and divisive behaviours that make people feel isolated and excluded. Open-minded and innovative leaders are full of intellectual curiosity and creativity. They value variety and diversity as a way to bring positive contributions. Those who are self-aware will take responsibility for their words and actions and the impact they may have on others. Last but not least, with a sense of humility, leaders are able to educate themselves to appreciate the lived experience of others.”
What advice would you give to achieve inclusive leadership?
“To be an inclusive leader, we have to be honest and fair, and should lead by example in treating everyone equally. Respecting ourselves as well as others for who we are and what we can bring. Remember to practise reflective listening, so that we can gain true collective insights, ideas, perspectives and concerns.”
How can leaders create inclusive organisations?
“For me, to create inclusive organisations, it is vital that leaders promote a sense of belonging for everyone. An organisation truly flourishes only when individuals feel valued, trusted and safe. Don’t treat diversity and inclusion as a ‘box-ticking’ exercise. I have seen organisations just going through the motions but not actively seeking ways to realise the benefits. Leaders must weave diversity and inclusion into an organisation’s fabric and make them part of the norm. It can be a significant cultural change for some. So, leaders must foster honest and timely communications to build trust in light of any differences. Moreover, a systematic approach to inclusion must be taken to acknowledge uniqueness as an asset and positively engage diversity through equality. I think we have made some real progress in terms of gender equality. As more women take on senior leadership roles, we can support others through mentoring and coaching to develop the next generation of great inclusive leaders.”