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Leading Inclusively with Cultural Intelligence


John Maxwell, Coach and Trainer said, “It all rises and falls with leadership.” We know culturally intelligent and inclusive leaders can leverage the diversity in their organisations to produce the best outcomes. Our clear, defined framework will provide the steps you need to take to progress to that point.

Helping Leaders to Think About Difference Differently

Inclusive Leadership is increasingly being recognised as a defined leadership style. One that is intentional in its pathway to creating inclusive workplace cultures.

For a long time, the Public and Community sector has failed to recognise how defined and definitive inclusive leadership actually is. We’ve expected leaders to just ‘get it right’ – having risen up through the ranks of an organisation, leaders suddenly find themselves managing diverse teams including people from different nationalities and different backgrounds. And we expect leaders to intuitively know how to do this well. We think that’s wrong.

At Above Difference, we’ve combined inclusive leadership theory with cultural intelligence to create programs that empower professionals to lead inclusively with cultural intelligence. Why? Because 30 years of research tells us that leaders define culture. They dictate the culture of an organisation or team, which in turn, directly influences how included, valued and seen people are in their workplace.

We take that fact very seriously. Our work revolves around creating inclusive leaders who understand how to use their cultural intelligence to leverage the diversity in their organisations and their teams to produce the best outcomes, the best services for the people they work with and the people they serve.

We help leaders who recognise their role in leading inclusion, show them how to be innovative and being creative about inclusion, to fully understand its purpose, and enable them to focus on how they make their teams and their organisations feel like good places to work for everyone.

Creating Safe Spaces for Courageous Leadership Discussions

The emotions around the Inclusion, Equality, and Diversity agenda understandably, can sometimes be high.  During ‘quick fix’ training sessions the trainers, facilitators and attendees may build walls, defensiveness, then finish the training and park the information.

We provide C-level clients and their front-line colleagues with a ‘Safe Space’ to learn and effectively respond to differences in a different way. 

When we partner and work with our C-level and front-line clients we create ‘Safe Spaces’ where they can have healthy discussions. Where they feel confident to ask the questions and are courageous discussing difficult topics such as ‘Privileges’ and the different types of ‘Privileges’ that exist, so we can help everyone understand how to effectively respond to differences.

Creating ‘Safe Spaces’ results in opening clients’ minds to the possibilities of what they can do differently. They don’t feel uneasy, or as if they are being attacked, or that they have to be part of an attack.  And most importantly, at the end of the programme they understand ‘How’ to integrate the framework into every part of the operations and processes of their organisation. 

Our C-Level clients leave the programme feeling confident it’s not ‘what their team looks like’ and know it’s a journey where they can make a difference to ‘what their team feels like ’.

“The culture of any organisation is shaped by the worst behaviour the leader is willing to tolerate.”

Steve Gruenert and Todd Whitaker
School Culture Rewired: How to Define, Assess, and Transform It

Executive Coaching

Tailored coaching sessions providing Leaders with an action plan and a broader and deeper approach to leading and sustaining intentional inclusion.

Sustaining Intentional Inclusion

The sessions build on the leadership masterclass and are crafted around the specific leadership challenges of your organisation, and leaders leave with an action plan.

Leading Inclusion Intentionally

Shift the mindset within your organisation about the diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts; and create to create and sustain intentional inclusion across your organisation.

“Working with Above Difference has really broadened and deepened our approach to inclusion at LYPFT which is a vital component of our cultural improvement work. The method of delivery which has cross cutting membership from across the Trust means you are actually developing your CQ as you learn. Individual coaching sessions help cement the individual learning opportunities / development beyond the masterclasses.”

Dr Sara Munro
Chief Executive Officer,  Leeds & York Partnership NHS Trust