Inclusion Is the Key Ingredient to Innovative Leadership

Here is an excerpt from an interview of (right) by  for the MIT Sloan Management Review. To read the complete article, check out others, and obtain subscription information, please click here.

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When leaders value and model inclusion, they can increase psychological safety and enhance performance on their teams.
In this series, author and organizational coach Chris Clearfield talks with leaders who manage technology-driven teams at innovative organizations across the world. The series will examine universal big-picture challenges as well as specific lessons on sparking ideas and accelerating innovation.

More in this series What does it take to be an innovative leader? In this interview series, I’ve talked to leaders from a range of companies who inspire and catalyze innovation on their teams every day. For Ruchika Tulshyan — author, speaker, and founder and CEO of Candour, a diversity and inclusion strategy firm — the No. 1 trait among innovative leaders is simple: inclusion.

Tulshyan has dedicated her career to teaching leaders how to implement diversity and inclusion practices that actually have an impact. As a Singaporean woman who has lived in five different countries and worked on four continents, Tulshyan brings a valuable perspective to the equity and inclusion conversation — a perspective she shares in her new book,  (MIT Press, 2022).

I spoke recently with Tulshyan about how in her writing and consulting work she hopes to open the lens of inclusion for leaders.

 The imposter syndrome narrative hasn’t been challenged in 50 years. Even when research showed that men experience it just as often as women, and when there was research to show that people of color actually experienced it more often than White people, that never really took off.

Ruchika Tulshyan:

A woman — or a woman of color — might show up in the workplace and she might feel like she doesn’t belong. I think to immediately blame her for those feelings without accounting for the cultural, social, and environmental contexts — the conversation lacks nuance.

I, too, have been conditioned with the gender schema. Sometimes when women show up in the workplace or show up in my interactions with them in a way that runs counter to the gender schema, even now, I have to catch myself doing it and ask myself, “Why did I immediately think, ‘She’s aggressive,’ or, ‘She’s unlikable’?”

I do think that this work begins with us, in many ways, decolonizing ourselves from oppressive systems.

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Here is a direct link to the complete article.

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