Inclusive leadership: a business conversation
Curium Solutions and the University of Birmingham gathered business leaders from the region to discuss their research into inclusive leadership. Here is what the university had to say…
Hosted with our partners at Curium, our business leaders’ dinner focused on what it means to be a successful and inclusive leader in times of change. Spurred by Curium’s inclusive leadership report, and our own research led by Professor Kiran Trehan in collaboration with The Institute of Leadership and Management, the discussion ranged from experiences, issues, and importantly, solutions.
A key message was that for industries, organisations and business units which do not have inclusive leaders, the problem is not something that is stand-alone or solvable by a single initiative – it is a whole systems problem that needs collaboration across geographies, sectors and organisations, led by individuals.
Inclusive leadership is not just about diversity quotas or numbers on boards, it’s about ensuring staff, regardless of background, are included in decision-making, strategy and operations. The debate needs to move further into how inclusive leadership practices add real business value, how new behaviours are needed (and how we can develop these), and how personal responsibility has to be taken.
There were important conversations around the notion of (safe) spaces for discussion and action, and even more importantly, how power relationships are created and perpetuated that inhibit inclusive behaviours.
In the future, we’ll be working with the team at Curium to engage our own students in TetraMap® to better understand their inclusive leadership behaviours. This will further our research into how the next generation of leaders support and demonstrate their inclusivity, and what the picture for the future looks like.
We’ll also be convening this group of existing leaders again, to share what is working in practice and ensure we have a feedback loop between research and reality which allows us to hone our engaged scholarship.