Does the feeling of being included make a difference in the workplace? Absolutely. Employees who experience a sense of inclusion are not just happier—they tend to be far more innovative—and leaders who exhibit altruistic behavior can inspire feelings of inclusion in employees.
In a recent Catalyst report, Inclusive Leadership: The View From Six Countries, researchers detailed the findings of a survey of 1,512 male and female employees across Australia, China, Germany, India, Mexico, and the United States. In all six countries, feelings of inclusion directly contributed to reports of innovation on the job, on average by 40 percent.
Leaders can help employees feel included by practicing four key behaviors:
• Empowerment—enabling success in direct reports
• Humility—admitting mistakes and accepting varying points of view
• Courage—putting aside personal interests for the good of the company and employee growth
• Accountability—holding direct reports accountable
Combined, these four behaviors led to employees feeling more included in the workplace and, therefore, being more innovative. Empowerment was reported as the most important behavior for fostering a sense of inclusion.