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Why Leaders Think They’re Evolving When They’re Not

Source | | Glenn Llopis

My previous article about why employees live in fear started with two lines from a negative performance review of an employee whose supervisor wrote: “You challenge my direction too much. You do more than I ask you to do.” The punch line was that the person being reviewed had been hired because she would do those things at the company.

Dozens of leaders contacted me about that review. Many felt I did not come down hard enough on the supervisor when I held him accountable for his failure to be an inclusive leader, open to diversity of thought; none thought I was too easy on the employee. But this leader and the countless leaders I have met like him – both non-diverse and diverse – are not causes of the problem with inclusive leadership at most companies. They are symptoms.

The problem is that most businesses have stripped employees of their identities , leading to a leadership identity crisis that infects businesses across America and prevents the implementation of inclusive leadership as a growth strategy. Because it is impossible to establish trust in the workplace (the key to leading inclusively) if your people don’t know who you are, what you are known for, stand for, and solve for – how you influence the evolution of the business.

Unfortunately, many leaders have been so stripped of their identities at work that they not only have no idea what their leadership identity is but also fail to see they suffer from an identity crisis. In other words, they actually think they have evolved to be inclusive as leaders and are doing the right thing by employees with reviews like that supervisor gave to help them succeed!

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