A new fantastic book on Inclusive Leadership – “How to Be an Inclusive Leader” by Jennifer Brown

Jennifer Brown, author of “How to Be an Inclusive Leader.”

Every few months I will continue to write a “book review” blog when I come across an extraordinary book in my field of diversity, leadership and career development. I am pleased to share a little about a new book by one of the industry’s leading diversity and inclusion consultants Jennifer Brown, “How to Be an Inclusive Leader,” subtitle, “Your Role in Creating Cultures of Belonging Where Everyone Can Thrive.”

The topic of growing into an inclusive leader becomes increasingly important each year as the demographics of our workforce continue to get more diverse. We all need to realize that within a few decades, the United States will be a “minority / majority” country; that is, non-Caucasian people will outnumber white Americans. In addition, the highly skilled and professional future workforce will be a fully 50% female. And in the global internet connected economy – customers, employees and suppliers can be easily engaged practically anywhere in this world. We need to have the widest possible pool of candidates when recruiting talent, and then provide them an inclusive, welcoming, respectful workplace.

To thrive in the new economy, leaders must be inclusive or they will fail. This book provides the reader the perfect mix of theory, examples and practical steps to take in terms of learning how to grow as an inclusive leader.

The basic structure of the book is the “Inclusive Leader Continuum,” which takes the reader through a journey of growth from being totally unaware of the need for inclusion to becoming an advocate. (See graphic at the left.) An interesting principle is that the journey on the continuum is not fixed and in one direction. A person needs to continually evaluate where they are, and may be in different places on their inclusion journey for different diverse groups. For example, you may be an advocate for racial inclusion and equity, but just discovering the need to include LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) people in the discussion.

The basic steps along the continuum include:
• Being unaware that diversity and inclusion is more than compliance-related and that it is something critical that you need to get engaged in as a leader.
• Becoming aware of the role you play in inclusion and starting to educate yourself on how to move forward.
• Being active – taking meaningful steps to engage with and support a wide range of diverse people.
• Being an advocate where you are consistently leading to confront discrimination and to bring about systemic change.

What is so wonderful about this book is that Jennifer continues to throw in compelling stories and examples with each step, and offers a plethora of helpful actions you can take to grow as an inclusive leader. And Jennifer continues to tie back to the compelling business rationale for providing a nurturing work culture where every employee can fully belong and contribute their very best to the bottom line.

Now when I teach workshops on being an inclusive leader, I always provide attendees an action planning template where I actually filled in the first entry: Order and read “How to Be an Inclusive Leader by Jennifer Brown.” Link to order from Amazon. An additional special bonus – a great tool to accompany the book: you can take Jennifer’s online inclusive leader self-assessment which will let you know where you are on the inclusive leader continuum in the areas of prioritization, intent vs impact, embracing change, bias awareness and use of language.

Order this book and take the inclusive leaders continuum assessment today!