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Inclusive Leadership in a time of crisis

We have seen many examples of poor conduct throughout the COVID-19 crisis and this likely affected employer brands once business was resumed.  So, how do we ensure we continue to make inclusive decisions that support our brand and not make rash decisions that could cause damage under pressure? 

This article focuses not only on how businesses could have promoted diversity and inclusion during the pandemic but also in the workplace during any future crisis.

Collaborative decision making 

In a crisis, there can be a tendency for leaders to revert to less collaboration and reactive decision-making due to pressure, and the need to act quickly.

However, collaborative decision-making can ensure effective risk management during a crisis. By involving diverse groups in the decision-making process, leaders can consider the effects of their decisions on different communities.

Collaborative decision making 

In a crisis there can be a tendency for leaders to revert to less collaboration and reactive decision making due to pressure, the need to act quickly. However, collaborative decision making  can ensure risk is managed more effectively. By involving diverse groups into this process, it will ensure we are considering the effects our decisions will have on different communities.

Leadership style 

Leaders should adapt their leadership style to ensure all employees, including furloughed employees and key workers, are included in delivering a crisis-specific strategy. The post-crisis impact should also be considered to ensure the focus remains on building an inclusive culture for the future.

Leaders need to be thinking of the post-crisis impact. Failure to manage inclusion effectively now could result in significant remedial work later, including addressing lax recruitment practices, non-inclusive behaviours, and employee departures due to unaddressed adjustments. Forward-thinking leadership is crucial to building and maintaining an inclusive culture for the future.


Impact on local communities 

Organisations can have a significant impact on their local communities, especially during a pandemic or a crisis with socially disadvantaged groups being particularly at risk, and domestic abuse increasing. Additionally, many countries face unique challenges due to poverty, limited social distancing opportunities, and insufficient support for diverse groups. Therefore, organisations need to consider how they can contribute to making a positive difference in their communities during these challenging times.



Leaders have needed more than ever to show  courage, a behaviour that should be celebrated and embraced moving forward. Making bold decisions has led to some of the most inclusive and community-minded initiatives during this crisis so far.



Empathy has been a driving force during this period for leaders, employees and the general public. The sense of community can be utilised and celebrated once this period is over.


Empowering the employee’s voice

Empowering employees in times of need has proven crucial in developing effective interventions. Valuing their expertise, life and professional experiences and skills has resulted in successful and timely reactions to the pandemic. It’s important to consider how we can apply and learn from this approach in the future.


Now is the time for leaders to step up – to be inclusive and be a force for change. We must ensure that inclusion remains a priority throughout the crisis and doesn’t slip behind reactive decision-making. By staying on top of your inclusion journey, you can maintain the progress you have made and maintain the reputation of being an inclusive employer during and beyond a crisis.

Leaders will find a wealth of advice in the Clear Assured toolkit.

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