Good managers want to build high-performing teams—but it isn’t always clear how to do so.

According to Catalyst’s new global report, Inclusive Leadership: The View From Six Countries, the answer is simple: Ensure that your employees feel included
at work.

The study, which contains the responses of 1,500 employees from Australia, China (Shanghai), Germany, India, Mexico, and the United States, shows that employees who feel included are more likely to go above and beyond the call of duty, suggest new product ideas, and innovate new ways of getting work done. The report also identifies four key leadership behaviors that predict whether or not employees
feel included:

  • Inclusive leaders empower others. They communicate effectively, avoid disparaging comments, encourage their team members, and help them to excel.
  • Inclusive leaders create accountability. They believe in their team members and hold them responsible for aspects of their job performance that they can control.
  • Inclusive leaders are courageous. They aren’t afraid to uphold their principles and stand up for their team members—even if it means taking a personal risk.
  • Inclusive leaders exhibit humility. They admit their mistakes, seek to learn from them, and are open to other points of view. They realize that diverse perspectives yield better results.

Catalyst studied how altruistic leadership affected employee’s perceptions of inclusion, innovation, and team citizenship in
Australia, China, Germany, Mexico, and the United States.
See results of the study in an expanded infographic at

Furthermore, belongingness and uniqueness appear to be essential elements of inclusion in Australia, China, Germany, Mexico, and the United States, where most employees want to stand out from the crowd without standing out so much that they feel alienated. India was the only country studied in which uniqueness and belongingness were not perceived as distinct contributors to feelings of inclusion.

Inclusive leaders cultivate feelings of belongingness and uniqueness simultaneously by focusing on their team members’ diverse talents and experiences—and avoiding stereotypes.

This kind of leadership can be scary and feel risky, but it’s ultimately worthwhile. The best leaders know that employees work much harder for people they admire and feel valued by than for leaders they resent.

Want to know how inclusive a leader you are? Take the quiz at

Founded in 1962, Catalyst is the leading nonprofit organization expanding opportunities for women and business. With offices in the United States, Canada, Europe, India, and Australia—and more than 700 members—Catalyst is the trusted resource for research, information, and advice about women at work. Catalyst annually honors exemplary organizational initiatives that promote women’s advancement with the Catalyst Award.