A Business in the Community Initiative

From Pioneer to Mainstream- Inclusive Leadership

Executive Summary / Introduction

Inclusive Leadership: From Pioneer to Mainstream -Maximising the Potential of Your People 

The research set out to answer three main questions:

  • How does inclusive leadership add value to an organisation? 
  • What makes a great inclusive leader?
  • How can an organisations develop their own inclusive leaders?


Great leadership is at the heart of great business and great organisations. It is also at the heart of creating cultures which are not only diverse, but cultures which leverage that difference for competitive advantage.

- Alison Platt,
Divisonal Managing Director, Europe and North America, Bupa

We started from the knowledge that making the most of a diverse  workforce is not just the right thing to do, it is a commercial imperative. Inclusive leaders bring clear benefits to organisations, through facilitating innovation, making the most of diverse talent and, through their own adaptability, getting the best results for their organisation.Our research included a review of existing research, reports and articles, focus groups, interviews with senior leaders and a wide ranging survey. Based on this, we have set out what an inclusive leader actually is, giving companies the tools to assess what inclusive leaders they currently have and to build more. This executive summary is essential reading for anyone in a management or leadership role who wants to maximise the potential of their people.

The business landscape is changing rapidly. The development of the knowledge economy is seeing flatter, less hierarchical structures in organisations. Increased agility is the response to emerging
markets, economic downturn and the cultural change inspired by social media and new ways of networking. Organisations across the private, public and third sectors require leaders with diversity of thought coming from diverse backgrounds that can foster innovation, maximise employee engagement and make the most of the potential of their people.