The Importance of Diversity and Inclusion in Leadership

How diversity in leadership can drive innovation and business success.

Key Insights from our Workplace Training Report 2023 Bridging the gap: Prioritising diversity and inclusion for a changing workforce

Many organisations are not making the most of their talent, and in the worst-case scenarios, talent is being wasted. Our Workplace Training Report 2023 has identified the importance of prioritising diversity and inclusion within an organisation and the ways in which the UK workforce is changing.


58% of HR leaders are developing existing talent in 2023

Maximising UK economic success in the post-pandemic era depends upon us making the most of talent and tapping into the potential we have within our organisations. While leaders and managers tend to view their organisations as inclusive and accepting of diversity, the CMI’s Everyone Economy brings diversity insights to light, which suggests how this translates in the workplace. Of the 2000 UK employees surveyed, 52% said they had been overlooked at some point in their career because of their identity, and 45% said they had to change something about themselves to get on in the workplace.

Tellingly, minority groups, including people from Black backgrounds and those identifying as LGBTQIA+, reported the highest levels of exclusion. Recognising your organisation’s diversity and inclusion gap is only the beginning. Prioritising diversity, equity and inclusion to meet the needs of the ever-changing workforce are essential, and to succeed, you need company-wide commitment and buy-in.

Positioning your leaders for the future of work

The first full year of post-pandemic work has passed, and leaders are still adjusting to the new world. Many have inherited a confusion of roles, responsibilities, and requirements, working differently than ever before. The new and often accidental line managers have found themselves thrust into more senior positions, now juggling the complexities of hybrid teams, employee wellbeing, and increased demand for DEI strategies.

The modern workplace means no one can exist independently. Collaborative leadership is the antithesis of traditional siloed work environments. Today, a business relies upon leaders having a full and varied set of skills, from data-driven insights to empathetic leadership. Managing high-performing individuals effectively and across different locations is also a key challenge for the modern leader. Our report found that 41% of employees do not believe their line manager has the right leadership skills to support them in their role. High-quality leadership training is a gateway to this and something all organisations can benefit from. 

Furthermore, McKinsey’s latest report agrees that upskilling leaders is a top people development priority for HR leaders in 2023. This shows that organisations recognise leadership development’s value and integral role in their company’s growth. Finding ways to ensure your people have an adequate skill set for the future has to be a top priority. 

Benefits of diverse leadership and a diverse workforce

Encouraging diversity within your leadership teams can only benefit your organisation. A recent report by McKinsey, Reimagining people development to overcome talent challenges, highlights just how valuable more diversity in your organisation can be. Diversity brings considerable benefits to your organisation, including:

Broadened perspectives

A management team with diverse leaders brings a wealth of different experiences, perspectives, and backgrounds to your organisation. This broadens the scope of discussion and decision-making within your company.

Enhanced cultural competence

Your employees and your customers will come from a wealth of backgrounds. Leaders who understand and appreciate diversity have the tools to understand better and lead teams from different cultures and backgrounds. Your leaders can help to foster an inclusive culture that values and champions different perspectives.

Improved understanding of diverse markets

How can you meet the needs and provide solutions for your customer base if you do not understand them well? Diverse leaders bring unique insights into the needs of different cultural and diverse markets, helping you to understand the preferences of different customer groups. You can tailor marketing and even product design to better serve diverse communities.

Greater productivity and business success

PWC found organisations with greater gender diversity are 1.4 times more likely to enjoy sustained, profitable growth. Further research corroborates this, highlighting just how valuable a diverse workforce is for overall company success. McKinsey’s studies show that ethnic and cultural diverse companies financially outperformed least diverse companies by 36%. 

Championing diversity within your organisation benefits any company focused on growth and development. Investing in your people and developing effective DEI strategies and recruitment approaches allows for a more representative workforce primed for success.

Supporting diversity in leadership has never been easier

Upskilling your organisation to create a more diverse group of leaders and managers who understand, accept and embrace diversity and inclusion is vital for any forward-thinking organisation. Supporting your leaders and managers to understand the importance of diversity and how to implement suitable DEI strategies requires high-level, targeted workplace leadership training.

We recognise that L&D budgets are feeling the pinch, with 75% of senior HR leaders identifying that growing economic uncertainty has impacted their company’s L&D budgets.  Our range of levy-funding leadership apprenticeship programmes positions your managers to lead and develop their diversity and inclusion training with no extra cost to your company. Core units of our programme range include Equality, Diversity and Unconscious Bias, Cultural Competence and EDI and Unconscious Bias and Decision Making.

Explore our leadership and management programmes below: