In today’s fast-paced and ever-evolving business environment, leadership is not just about guiding teams and making decisions; it’s about fostering an inclusive culture that welcomes diverse perspectives and innovative ideas. The pathway from a leader’s vision to their organization’s victory is built on foundational leadership skills that prioritize inclusivity. This blog explores the Seven Steps of Inclusion, a framework that enhances these skills and ensures that they lead to meaningful business success.

The Seven Steps of Inclusion

1. Deepen Self-Awareness
Leadership starts with self-awareness. Leaders must have a keen understanding of their strengths, weaknesses, emotions, and the biases they bring to their decision-making. Self-aware leaders are better equipped to manage their reactions and remain open to feedback, which is crucial for personal and organizational growth. This introspection sets the tone for genuine leadership and fosters an environment where every team member feels valued and understood.
2. Foster Social Awareness
The ability to be socially aware is key in recognizing the needs and emotions of others within the team. Leaders who excel in social awareness can empathize and respond to subtle cues in team dynamics. This skill is especially important in recognizing when to offer support, how to communicate effectively, and when to encourage others to step forward, ensuring that all voices are heard and respected.
3. Reveal Blind Spots
Every leader has blind spots — areas of personal or organizational functioning where their understanding is limited. Leaders must actively seek to reveal these blind spots by soliciting diverse perspectives and challenging their assumptions. This process involves being open to critique and willing to adjust behaviors and strategies, which can significantly enhance decision-making processes and prevent oversight.
4. Listen to Understand
Listening is a fundamental aspect of effective leadership. However, it goes beyond just hearing words; it’s about listening to understand. This level of listening requires full engagement and a commitment to understand others’ points of view without premature judgment. It fosters a sense of respect and trust within the team, allowing for more open, honest, and productive communications.
5. Create Connections
Creating genuine connections among team members can transform an ordinary group into a high-performing team. Leaders should encourage interactions that go beyond work-related tasks, facilitating opportunities for team members to connect on a personal level. These connections build a strong team foundation that enhances collaboration and support, leading to improved performance and satisfaction.
6. Lead with Courageous Vulnerability
Courageous vulnerability in leadership involves showing humility and openness to uncertainties. Leaders who embrace their vulnerabilities can build trust and inspire authenticity within their teams. This approach encourages others to share their ideas and challenges without fear, fostering a culture where learning from mistakes is seen as a part of the journey towards success.
7. Invest Resources in Inclusion
Finally, committing resources to support inclusion initiatives is crucial. This can include training programs, diversity workshops, and resources to support the professional development of a diverse workforce. Investing in these areas shows a tangible commitment to building an inclusive culture, which can attract and retain top talent, enhancing the organization’s competitive edge.

Building an Inclusive Culture with Business Relationship Management

Understanding the value of a diverse and inclusive team is essential for effective leadership. In business relationship management, it is crucial to involve the right mix of people in decision-making processes, recognizing that diversity and inclusion are necessary for addressing complex issues. While diverse teams might experience tension due to differing viewpoints, a culture with high trust can harness these differences for vibrant discussions and innovation. Strong relationships and strategic connections are key to leveraging these dynamics for outstanding results.

Starting Your Leadership Journey

For those interested in enhancing their leadership skills, consider engaging in introduction sessions or certification courses in business relationship management. These programs offer valuable insights into fostering inclusivity and collaboration, essential components of effective leadership.


Embracing these seven steps of inclusion not only enhances leadership skills but also paves the way for sustainable business success. Leaders who commit to this inclusive approach will see their vision come to life as their organizations move towards victory.

Leadership Education, Training, Courses, Coaching and Consulting

Lead the Pack Consulting specializes in business relationship management (BRM) leadership development. Our years of experience in Leadership Management Education, Training, Courses, Coaching and Consulting help us support business relationship management teams and provide them with the leadership skills needed to overcome their challenges. We have provided leadership coaching to business relationship managers, leaders, and teams in a variety of organizations and industries. Since 2013, we have been a registered provider of business relationship management certification workshops and coaching. Our coaches, Elka Schrijver and Peter Lijnse, have both won the prestigious Arnie Award from the Business Relationship Management (BRM) Institute for their work to embody, enhance, and promote business relationship management knowledge throughout the global BRM community. They have been actively involved in the BRM Institute since it was founded in 2013 and have been contributing authors for several components of the BRM Body of Knowledge and certification courses. They are currently writing a series of practical, user-friendly books about mastering business relationship management leadership skills.