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Leaders Believe They Value Diversity,
But Direct Reports Don't Agree
How important is a leader’s commitment to creating a culture of inclusion?
How important is it that leader’s embrace and deliberately act to create a diverse organization?
In a recent Harvard Business Review article my colleague Joe Folkman and I shared our analysis of assessments from over 1.5 million raters describing 122,000 leaders from data collected over the last decade. We were searching for new competencies that may have become more relevant and critical for leaders today than they had been in the past. One of the most noteworthy competencies to emerge was the ability to value diversity and practice inclusive behavior.
Leaders were assessed on this capability through 360-degree feedback, collected from their manager, peers, direct reports and others with whom they worked.
Two of the items used to evaluate the effectiveness of leaders on this competency were:
• “Takes initiative to support and include people of different backgrounds and perspectives.”
• “Actively builds a climate of trust, appreciation and openness to differences in thoughts, styles and backgrounds.”
Note that the items evaluate a leader’s ability to create an inclusive environment. The items take a broader view of diversity than merely gender or race; and asked about diversity in background, perspectives, thoughts and styles.
(While our general conclusions come from our global database describing this competency, we will highlight results from one large global company. The results shown below are based on data regarding over 4,000 leaders from that organization.)