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Leaders Like You


  • Barriers to diversity in leadership can be found at different levels - societal, organisational/institutional and individual.
  • Recruitment barriers need to be tackled to have a ‘pipeline’ of diverse future leaders.

Barriers common to most groups include:

  • Lack of self-confidence and self-belief partly as a result of institutional factors;
  • A tendency to recruit and promote in one’s own image;
  • Nepotism and an “old boys club” mentality;
  • Exclusion from informal networks of communication;
  • Stereotyping/preconceptions of a person’s roles and abilities derived from prejudices in wider society;
  • Lack of mentors, role models and appropriate networks of individuals to provide social support and advice.

Barriers faced particularly by women include:

  • Non-recognition of commitment to personal and family responsibilities;

  • More subtle biases such as the requirement for career breaks if having children;

  • The dominance of male leadership and male leadership styles.

Barriers faced particularly by people with disabilities include:

  • Job security;

  • Personal development;

  • Career prospects;

  • Perceived capacity to lead; and

  • Travel-to-workplace difficulties.

Barriers faced particularly by BAME people include:

  • Paucity of mentors, role models and support groups;
  • Lack of understanding of cultural differences;
  • Pressure to assimilate and conform to an organisational stereotype;
  • A backdrop of institutional and societal racism.

Barriers faced particularly by LGBT include:

  • Lack of confidence;
  • Having to conform to stereotypical machismo;
  • Banter which should be considered homophobic;
  • Use of language which is exclusionary;

‘Double marginalisation of people having two or more ‘underrepresented characteristics’ needs to be considered.