It is important to stay cognisant of the fact that leaders and those in positions of power tend to believe that they are committed to reflect DEI through their day-to-day decisions (15). Hence a certain level of overconfidence bias may be expected from respondents in leadership positions (such as those within the categories of senior management and the board). Overconfidence bias is a tendency to hold misleading assessment of one’s skills, intellect, or talent and causes the person to overestimate their abilities. On the ground, leaders and professionals in positions of power tend to be overconfident of their inclusivity and efforts to address exclusion may be hindered. In the long term, this leads to a tendency where continuous change for DEI is not prioritised since there is overconfidence that existing DEI changes and interventions are optimal. This creates conflict between employee expectations and leader perceptions within an organisation and limits the company in living up to its potential. Supporting research suggests that the single most important trait of an inclusive leader is their “awareness of bias,” more specifically, a leader’s awareness of personal and organisational biases (16).
Comments from some survey respondents throw light on the urgent need to bridge this gap between leaders ’ perception and employee needs and expectations:
“ Says to collaborate but once collaborated the idea is discarded. ”
“ Me and my colleagues are afraid to speak up. We get penalised (get shut down at the best, be subjected to mobbing at the worst) for it. ”
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