One of the biggest leadership adjustments in recent times is the need to be more in tune with all levels of diversity and equality. This is not just a cosmetic exercise – making sure recruitment and work conditions are fair to all. It means recognising the fact that each person is an individual, with their own ideas, perceptions, strengths and weaknesses.
A modern day executive or manager should be constantly adjusting their leadership styles to support that variety of human experience and perception.
Why? Because it brings the best out of each employee, unlocks potential and builds well-integrated and high-functioning teams. It’s also an investment, as it inspires resilience and commitment for the tough times.
It’s a leadership style that has been proven to be the best way to identify, develop, and advance individual talent.
Inclusion and diversity from day one
This leadership dynamic begins in the methodology used to attract new recruits. Many companies these days are throwing out the rule book of formulaic job specs and tick lists of personal attributes. Instead, they focus on what the individual applicants offer in terms of ideas, skills and personal potential. Then, to some degree, they fit the job around the most promising candidates.
Technology companies worldwide are at the forefront of this new leadership style. This is ironic in the way that the firms who are driving Artificial Intelligence, Automation, Big Data and the Internet of Things, are also the ones with the biggest commitment to developing positive interaction between management and staff.
Examples of growth strategies build on diversity
Global success CA Technologies has won a raft of awards for its policies of diversity and equality, going above and beyond employee legislation to introduce kinder and more responsive terms for parental leave, for example.
The hi-tech giant also recruits on the basis of #youbringwhatyoubring. During interviews, previous roles count for less than the ideas and contributions that candidates offer to the company.
Another example is the technology company Hootsuite. It has created opportunities for staff to engage in physical exercise as part of their working day. This, of course, keeps the 1,000 strong team healthier, happier and less prone to taking sick leave.
However, the management team at Hootsuite believe this nurturing leadership style offers other valuable business benefits. Opportunities to exercise and have fun during the working day build stronger teams, and create a far more attractive working environment. CEO Ryan Holmes describes it as “the best decision we could have made.”
To quote another global company – Google – which has a well-documented commitment to this style of leadership, Sundar Pichai, CEO says: “A diverse mix of voices leads to better discussions, decisions, and outcomes for everyone.”
Retail leadership needs nurturing style
Being actively inclusive and celebrating diversity is not a leadership style that should be confined to “ideas” led businesses such as technology. Retail leaders also need to send a powerful message to workforces, with a tangible demonstration of their commitment to these principles. Inclusion, diversity and nurturing leadership should be central to business culture.
This is not something that can be delegated. Retail business leaders need to make this a personal mission. Not just because it shows ethically responsibility, but also because it could be the foundation for survival in a competitive global market.
Mikael Ohlsson, the former CEO of IKEA, said, “My leadership on diversity is vision-driven from a business point of view and value-driven at the foundation.”
Contact Anthony Gregg Partnership today to find out more about implementing this style of leadership in your retail business and executive search.