Inclusive Leadership by Design

We are neurologically wired to gravitate towards people who are like us and think like us. As a result, employers are faced with the challenge of building and promoting a style of leadership which accepts people that are different, making them feel included and welcome. Vercida Director, Dan Robertson, explores the key traits that make organisational leadership inclusive:


  • Organisations have a simplistic mentality – they create a high level of diversity but low levels of inclusion. But the rewards of connectivity only come when we achieve high levels of both.
  • It is impossible to have a diverse team if employees don’t feel a psychological safety to be themselves at work.
  • Most leaders are usually hired for their sector specific competences and skillsets, without understanding what modern leadership is and what drives high performing teams. 
  • Most leaders in Western organisations score high on IQ but they lack empathy and human connectivity. As a result, they create toxic styles of leadership, such as:

- psychopathic leadership – they break rules on social norms, lack empathy and manifest aggressive behaviour,

- zombie leadership – they suck passion and energy out of their teams, are influenced by dead ideas and old norms, resist change and prefer sameness.

  • An inclusive leader by design will:

- inspire people who are different, 

- be open about weaknesses as well as strengths and build trust, 

- understand their own biases and learn from the experiences of diverse team members, 

- pay attention to unwritten rules and patterns of behaviours, 

- encourage connectivity and belonging, 

- invest in all team members.


While the notion of Diversity & Inclusion has started to become ubiquitous in organisations’ talent attraction plans, there are few examples that showcase an efficient implementation of diverse and inclusive recruitment. This is because diversity and inclusion are usually seen as one goal, when in fact they should be approached as separate entities, which can have influence on each other’s outcome.

View Dan Robertson's presentation


Dan Robertson, Director, Vercida Consulting

"Inclusive Leadership by Design: The 6 Traits of Inclusive Change-Makers"