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Summer reading tips on inclusive leadership

Updated: Jul 2, 2020

Getting into the holiday mood?

Wether you opt for a staycation or need some time abroad, you finally have time to read a good book. I prefer to read novels when I am off. They have thought me more about human behaviour and 'la condition humaine' than any business book. One of my favourites is The unbearable lightness of being by Milan Kundera. Or try any book by Zadie Smith, Sandro Veronesi or Sandor Marai. You will not be disappointed, I promise.

Checking the latest books on diversity and inclusion, my field of expertise is something I do throughout the year. Here are a few of my summer reading tips if you want to dig into the topic of diversity and inclusion this summer:

📍Inferior and Superior, the two books by Angela Saini, science writer & Oxford engineer, debunking all the gender and race myths you might have heard in the office on read on your social wall lately. Her books are based only on academic research and evidence. Great fact source to enrich your discussions about diversity and inclusion. Remember that having an open talk about the topic is always the first step. Try to listen more and speak less. Find out why people think there are no differences in the road to leadership. Unveiling the hidden convictions about gender and race are also part of my keynote about inclusive leadership.

📍How to be an inclusive leader by Jennifer Brown. Very practical guide to assess how inclusive you really are in the office and what your next step might be. She focuses on daily behaviour and mindset and uncovers many blind spots you or your colleagues might have. Very often, we are simply unaware of those thinking patterns that cause bias in the way we look at people's potential. Part of my work with companies is identifying those blockers inside company cultures and turn them into accelerators. The book contains a self test and 'go do' tips to be a change maker, insightful for young professionals and veterans in the workplace.

📍Couples that work by Professor Jennifer Petriglieri, one of my teachers at the gender diversity program I followed at INSEAD last year. 'the best employee is on 24/7 and has someone at home taking care of everything else' is often the mindset of non-inclusive leaders. Dual careers have been the reality for over 2 decades now. Petriglieri has spent the last six years studying over a hundred couples in a variety of roles and types of relationships from all over the world. Drawing on this research, Petriglieri highlights the three distinct yet predictable transitions that all couples go through and offers practical guidance in the form of questions, exercises and activities that couples can use to overcome the most pressing challenges they face.

📍Who run the world by Tine Maenhout & me. In this (Dutch) book, we share stories of many female leaders in Belgium, who speak openly about how they developed their full potential. What does it really take to get there and how do you turn blockers into accelerators? Full of practical wisdom and tips about personal development and creating inclusive company cultures.

Let me know what you learn from these books after your holiday.

And do share the ones that have inspired you to be a better leader.

Enjoy the summer,

Elke Jeurissen


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