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Inclusive Leadership: Challenging Unconscious Bias

We’re flexible about delivery. We can deliver workshops or integrate our content into your leadership curriculum. We deliver online and in-person, depending on client needs.

What’s the aim?

To build the skills of your leaders to:

  • recruit, develop and retain diverse teams
  • create inclusive cultures where people feel valued, trusted, authentic and have high levels of psychological safety.

How do we approach it?

We use a conversational format shaped around the day-to-day roles of leaders.

The Basics:

Four areas of focus

  • What is an inclusive and psychologically safe workplace
  • Strengths of inclusive leaders
  • What gets in the way: unconscious biases and microaggressions
  • Actions I can take to be a more inclusive leader during everyday moments (team meetings, decision-making, recruitment, communicating with each other and clients, succession planning, promoting).

Key Messages

  • Diversity – of demographic background and thinking approaches – is critical for innovation and robust decision-making.
  • Unconscious bias is a key barrier to diversity progress in organisations, because of common tendencies to gravitate to people like us and thinking approaches like ours (affinity bias, confirmation bias, sunflower bias).
  • We all have biases – what’s important is noticing them and taking steps to mitigate the potential negative impact on our decision-making and problem-solving.
  • An inclusive culture is one where people feel valued, trusted, can be authentic and feel psychologically safe.
  • Psychological safety is the most important ingredient of high performing teams.
  • We can all take tangible steps to demonstrate intentionally inclusive leadership behaviours that benefit everyone – our people, clients, broader stakeholders.


By the end of the workshop, your leaders will have:

  • A consistent understanding of why a diverse and inclusive workplace matters, including how it fosters innovation and growth
  • Have a greater understanding of unconscious biases and microaggressions that inhibit diversity (of thinking and demographic background) and inclusion
  • Identified ways to challenge unconscious bias and actively seek ideas, questions, and concerns
  • Identified practical actions they can take to demonstrate intentionally inclusive actions – when making decisions, when conducting team meetings, when recruiting, when reviewing performance, when promoting, when communicating
  • Improved skills to build psychological safety and belonging with their teams.

Our capability

Our facilitators are highly experienced in delivering engaging programs for senior leaders to maximise participation and dialogue. We use coaching techniques and adult learning methodologies to guide our workshop facilitation.

The workshop draws on the leading international work of Professor Binna Kandola, author of The Value of Difference: Eliminating Bias in Organisations. Professor Kandola is an external advisor to our firm, and his research has informed the inclusive leadership programs of leading global organisations, such as BP and Rio Tinto. Dr Katie Spearritt trained with Pearn Kandola in London for the delivery of the worldwide BP Inclusive Leadership program.

We also draw on research on psychological safety by Professor Amy Edmonson, Dr Timothy R Clarke, and Google’s Project Aristotle which found that psychological safety was the most important factor in successful teams.

In addition, we incorporate the latest research from Harvard Business Review, Global Benchmarks on Diversity and Inclusion, Catalyst (US-based research firm), and global consulting firms to ensure the academic foundation of our workshop is rigorous and reflects best practice.

Conversational format

The workshop includes a range of experiential activities to engage the hearts and minds of all leaders through:

  • Personal reflections
  • Small group work
  • Case studies/examples (from facilitator and participants)

‘Diversity Partners facilitated a very engaging session for our executive team. We came away with a much deeper understanding of the ways in which unconscious bias can limit diversity and our decision-making more generally.’

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