3 Ways Leaders Can Step Into Accountability for Diversity and Inclusion

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Over the last year, I've heard accountability associated with equity, ( ) and.

Many leaders feel the pressure to voice their opinion and address every issue that is covered in the news. Particularly coworkers of color, women, and young people expect their leaders to address the social justice challenges. They want to know:

Add to that the complexity surrounding the risks and disparate effects of Covid-19, vaccines, and mask use and you have a storm of accountability.

Relationships with colleagues and employees are being pressured like never before. It's a shock for many, especially those who come from privileged backgrounds. Some are thinking to themselves: This is the first time I've ever been expected to lead DEI like this.

Let's examine what is driving these expectations from leaders.

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This new accountability is necessary for DEI.

These trends are driving the shift towards inclusive leadership. These trends are lasting influences and will continue to accelerate in the future.


America's demographic destiny was revealed by the 2020 Census. Americans aged 18 and younger are considered a mutual minority. Multiracial diversity is growing. These aspects of segmentation are ignored in our talent strategy, customer connection and talent strategy.

Metro over rural

56% of people live in cities or close to them, and the UN predicts that this number will rise to 70% in 30 years. It is important to understand the urban areas and focus on rural markets. By definition, cities have more people and are more diverse. Their dynamic cultures can make it difficult to succeed geographically.

Supply chains and global markets

It is essential to be able to sell, source and serve across borders. For many industries, and organizations of all sizes, it is now a standard to work with cultural and linguistic differences. People from all over the globe are entering our geographic markets. This means that we don't have to sell "overseas", in order for our companies to go global.

Technological acceleration

Virtually all businesses rely on technology to run their operations. Technology drives efficiency and speeds up communication. Glassdoor gives prospects information about your company, while customers can see what your company is doing to fight climate change. Employees also discuss DEI in internal forums.

Broken trust

These trends, along with increasing educational attainment, are fueling the voice of people tired of being disadvantaged tied to their identities.

When you have a business and goals to achieve, what is an accountable, inclusive leader to do?

Related: Four Trackable Metrics that Move the Needle for Diversity and Inclusion Goals

There are three ways to get ahead

Accept and affirm that all leaders must be inclusive, which includes you.

Accountability means being accountable for your actions, particularly when you are building trust across identities. Ask your employees for ideas on how to make the company more responsive to community needs. Redesign your leadership development curriculum to ensure that all leaders in the company understand that inclusion is encouraged, supported, and evaluated.

Visibly invest in your DEI perspective.

Participate in an employee resource group. When current events affect you or your loved ones, be authentic and quiet with colleagues. You will learn how to communicate issues openly and link your understanding to the company's values. As important as it is to grow in private, it's not enough. It is important to strike a balance between the desire to show people your DEI leadership publicly and ally theatre. You must be able to gracefully recover from mistakes and misses, as perfection is not always possible.

By improving systems and culture, you can build your brand as an inclusive leader.

Your leadership brand is what people think of you as and why they choose to follow your example. Because inclusive leaders are focused on reducing biases and creating opportunities for advancement and hiring, they will be able to do this. Inclusive leaders take responsibility and are accountable for the results they achieve. Ally work should not be performed (i.e. Insincere, superficial, or just for the sake of appearing.

Do you have a good reputation for managing a diverse team? Do you retain talent by creating a sense that people are part of a larger community? Your brand will be stronger if you lead inclusively.

Inclusive leaders are open to new accountability. We explore how DEI pressures can be used to invigorate, deliver results, and grow our culture. We are being asked by our people to explain how we build trust.

Related: Three Ways White Men can Become Inclusive Leaders