Inclusion in Action
As organizations and individuals strive to be more inclusive, the path forward isn’t always clear. Many organizations have invested in interventions like increasing awareness of unconscious/implicit bias, and launching Employee Resource Groups. Although these can be important tools, organizations generally aren’t seeing the impact they hoped for, and the rate of change is far too slow.
The Simmons University Institute for Inclusive Leadership is determined to see real change in our lifetime. Achieving our goal will require leaders at all levels to engage deliberately in fostering cultures of inclusion where all can equitably thrive. Our new framework, The Work of the Inclusive Leader™, demystifies inclusive leadership by providing a “road map” of 6 key practices across three levels of engagement.
We have grouped the work of the inclusive leader into three overarching activities: becoming aware, becoming an ally and upstander, and becoming a change agent. The first is all about the internal work of increasing understanding and awareness. The second is about supporting others, and the third is about advocating for systemic change.
Within each activity there are two practices. The ability to perform each of these practices is built from the work in the practice before – in other words, we have to learn to walk before we can run. For example, in order to be an effective upstander and ally, an individual must have a good understanding of their own biases and privileges. If not, they run the risk of not knowing when in-the-moment allyship is needed, or perhaps intervening in a way that isn’t helpful. Although each practice builds on the practices that come before, the Work of the Inclusive Leader™ isn’t a linear path. Instead, through continuous learning and action, leaders incorporate each new practice while continuing to engage in the previous practices.
The Work of the Inclusive Leader™draws from the wisdom of a diverse group of experts to demystify leading inclusively. Building from a foundation of continuous learning and self-reflection, the framework guides you to increase your understanding, take action as an ally and upstander, and ultimately increase equity in your organization through sponsorship and systemic change.