Ian Dodds Consulting Change Font size:

Why is it that bosses often seem unable to hear tough messages?

This is a question that Professors Barham (London Business School) and Meehan (IMD) pose in the April edition of the Harvard Business Review.

It is a key question for organisations wishing to build an inclusive culture to enable everyone, whatever their diversity, to feel valued and respected and to give of their best. This is because this generally involves transforming the existing masculine, heterosexual and physically able culture to one which is much more inclusive for all. To achieve this it is critical that their leaders set an example in inclusive leadership behaviour. IDC has worked with many leaders driving diversity change programmes and it has been our experience that they each tend to consider that they are behaving inclusively and that it is their colleagues who need to change.  Giving them a tough message about it without evidence is not sufficient to induce change. This is confirmed in Barham  and Meehams’ research which found that managers typically rated themselves higher on most measures of performance than their colleagues in 360 degree surveys. They concluded that leader’s individual leadership behaviour inadequacies need to be ‘cast in sharp relief’. This involves using 360 tools which offer feedback that is specific to the individual.

One of IDC’s specialist products is an online inclusive leadership behaviour survey. The leadership team identifies the inclusive behaviours they need to set an example in and each choose 8 – 10 observers who will offer feedback on the extent to which they are practising these ‘pinpointed’ behaviours. The observers complete the online survey every 3 – 5 months and each leader works on their feedback with a coach. Our experience is that the leaders over a 12-month period improve their scores by between 20% and 25%. This is very noticeable to employees and a powerful driver in influencing everyone to behave more inclusively.

We believe more organisations would get the business benefits they seek from their D&I efforts if they adopted this approach. The annual staff survey does not induce change because it does not put each individual leader’s feedback in sharp relief.

IDC’s leadership behaviour tool and coaching process has been refined over 13 years and is highly effective. It can be used locally or globally.

 Related articles

To avoid performance loss, make managers culturally aware when assessing diverse employees

The power of reverse mentoring

Leading by example - a powerful driver of culture change

Similarity-attraction - do your managers promote people who look like them?

 How to engaged are your employees?

Website Management and SEO Consultancy by Amoo Business Nursery        Website Created by Toast.it