Article: Fidelity Investments India’s HR head on essential traits of inclusive leadership

Leadership Development

Fidelity Investments India’s HR head on essential traits of inclusive leadership

Seema Unni emphasizes the foundational importance of authenticity in fostering a culture of belonging and collaboration within organisations.
Fidelity Investments India’s HR head on essential traits of inclusive leadership

For Seema Unni - Head of HR, and Regional Leader, Fidelity Investments India, inclusive leadership is characterised by traits that are vital in fostering a culture of belonging and collaboration.

Seema sees this as a pyramid. The foundation of the pyramid is authenticity, followed by increasing self-awareness through a keen curiosity to learn more about the space. The apex of the pyramid would be demonstrating vulnerability, empathy, and acts of self-de-biasing,

She suggests some essential traits of inclusive leadership mentioned below:

Authenticity through empathy: Authentic leaders create a genuine and transparent environment where individuals feel comfortable expressing themselves, bringing their best selves to work, and being the best version of themselves. Empathetic leaders take the time to understand the emotions, motivations, and challenges faced by team members and factor these into the decision-making process, fostering a sense of trust, respect, and belonging where employees feel their voice is truly heard.

Self-awareness: Inclusive leaders possess a high degree of self-awareness, enabling them to recognise their own biases, preferences, and limitations. This self-awareness allows them to approach interactions and decision-making processes with fairness and objectivity, creating a more inclusive environment. To do this, one must exhibit:

  • Curiosity: A curious mindset encourages one to understand and appreciate the value of diverse perspectives, experiences, and ideas, in turn driving innovation and continuous learning across all levels of the organization.
  • Openness to diverse perspectives: Inclusive leaders value and actively seek out diverse perspectives, recognising the richness that diverse backgrounds, experiences, and viewpoints bring to the table, thereby building a culture of innovation and creativity across the organization.
  • Good listening skills: Inclusive leaders prioritise active listening, validating the experiences and viewpoints of team members and fostering a sense of respect and appreciation, leading to stronger relationships and better outcomes for the organization.
  • Leading self-change: This involves a high level of self-transformation through sustained and focused efforts. It could be very individualised depending on our journey and would involve us leveraging different milestones and levers while embarking on the same.
  • Vulnerability: Inclusive leaders embrace vulnerability as a strength, sharing their challenges, uncertainties, and failures, along with moments of triumph through perseverance, fostering deeper connections, and enabling more authentic and meaningful interactions.
  • Building Trust: Authentic and vulnerable leaders are also more transparent in everything they do, helping build trust and a culture based on the value of people relationships and bringing your best to the workplace.
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Topics: Leadership Development, #PracticalTips, #HRCommunity

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