Navigating Male Leadership assumes male leaders want their colleagues and staff to be able to bring their whole selves to work, they acknowledge that the workplace is changing, and that, as leaders, they have a critical role to play in leading and supporting organizational change for the inclusion of others.

This one-and-a-half day engagement is specifically designed to address diversity challenges that are commonly experienced by men, provides male leaders practical tools for fostering inclusion, and enables men to have the impact that matches their intentions around fostering inclusive and intercultural workplaces. 

The session begins by establishing a solid understanding of inclusive leadership, critically examines the business need for diversity, and then grows the awareness of what factors produce unintended and often hurtful or inequitable outcomes. 

Participants will: 

  • Examine the impact of unconscious bias, cultural bias and systemic or institutional bias on the effectiveness of male leaders;

  • Establish the attitudes, relationships across differences, cultural literacies and communication skills needed to exercise inclusive and intercultural leadership;

  • Better understand the requirements and limitations of advocating for the inclusion and advancement of women, people with disabilities, Indigenous Peoples, people of colour and those who identify as LGBTQ*2S; and

  • Lead with a strong sense of what it means to be an ally.

Why workshops specifically for men?


The following is a sample offering and can be customized to meet specific needs, time limitations or to align with pre-existing training.

Establishing Intent in a Results Driven Culture

Purposeful leadership requires a strong sense of intentionality. In this opening session, participants will examine the different kinds of diversity, the business case for a more inclusive workplace, and also explore the organizational stage-by-stage process towards fostering a work environment where people with profound differences thrive. Participants will determine where they are in the process, what business outcomes are most relevant and the kind of organizational mindset they aspire to establish as male leaders. 

Six Vital Traits for Inclusive Leadership

Inclusive leadership is promised to be the heart of innovation. It is also the litmus test of any leader's integrity and commitment towards social justice. Failure to demonstrate inclusivity at any level of leadership drives people away, harbours discrimination and normalizes inequity. This session provides a framework for what inclusive leadership is and aims to achieve. 

Intro to Intercultural Leadership and Cultural Bias

This engaging and interactive session provides a frank conversation about the complex difficulties of leading more diverse and inclusive organizations and/or teams, the intercultural afterthought, and what is required to convert a team’s diversity into innovation. This session covers:

  • The impact of cultural differences

  • The stages of personal change that must occur to formalize an intercultural mindset

  • Developing Intercultural Fluency

  • Whose responsibility is it to adapt?

  • Overcoming the fear of saying the wrong thing

Confronting Unconscious Bias and Systems Bias in the Workplace

At the core of intercultural fluency and inclusive leadership is conscientiousness: a deep understanding of one’s implicit (or personal) bias and the systemic biases that affect all kinds of decision-making. This module is devoted to understanding three key forms of implicit bias, and leading participants in identifying and sharing examples of unconscious bias in the workplace and other work-related environments. Participants will discuss the findings of Harvard Implicit Association Tests and gain tools for recognizing and disrupting unconscious bias in organizational settings, such at committee meetings, hiring boards and talent development. This module also explores how bias in organizational systems prevent the best intentions from truly being realized. (More on Unconscious Bias Workshops)

In advance of the workshop, attendees are asked to take at least two of Harvard Implicit Association Tests (available free online). 

What does it Mean to be an Ally, for everyone?

This final module provides male leaders with an understanding of how to support the efforts towards greater equity for women, people with disabilities, Indigenous Peoples, people of colour and those who identify as LGBTQ2S+, while also acknowledging that efforts in the past have resulted in making men feel displaced and unwelcome. It examines the barriers for men of colour, and the often under-explored role of white men in championing a more inclusive workplace. Building upon the previous modules, this session empowers male leaders with the language to be able to talk about their own male privilege in a way that is non-threatening and disrupts resentment. 

Courageous Conversations: Implications of Being a Male Manager
(60-minutes; Dialogue)

The following segment is a reflection on the previous material and facilitates a difficult conversation about power dynamics, gender dynamics and what impact the pursuit of diversity and inclusion have had and will continue to have on male managers. This facilitated conversation will explore:

  • How to navigate the perception of male feedback to women;

  • What does it mean to treat everyone with respect, across gender and cultures?

  • What happens when the personality traits of staff don’t align with corporate culture?

  • How to have robust conversations, while holding respectfulness; and

  • The implications of being in a position of power in the workplace.

What, So What, Now What? 
(45-minutes; Debrief)

The closing workshop is a space for attendees to digest and self-reflect on what they have learned or discovered through the day, and what impact this might have on their aspirations as well-intentioned men in their organization. It will also provide space for honest dialogue and reflection on how power can cause unintended meaning, and how male leaders can further develop the courage and commitment to lead inclusively, disrupt exclusion and most effectively be an ally to women, people with disabilities, Indigenous Peoples, people of colour, and LGBTQ2S+ employees. 

Please note the above is subject to change, as participation allows or limited by time.

Why workshops specifically for men?

Training specifically designed for men improves its effectiveness, reduces backlash and produces new champions for diversity. 

According to the Harvard Business Review, diversity and inclusion training has had very little impact on the racial and gender diversity in corporate America. In fact, conventional diversity and inclusion training can produce disengagement, resistance and worse, resentment amongst male managers and senior leaders. Since the sixties, the male-dominated power circle, sometimes knowns as "the men's club", has been blamed as the source for much of the exclusion of women, people of colour and other marginalized groups. For decades, the efforts to dismantle the men's club have made men feel pushed out or devalued.

Backlash is real. And when backlash exists below the surface, it is often harder to bring about the culture change needed to create workplaces where all employees genuinely feel included.

Becoming a champion for diversity and inclusion involves huge amounts of self-reflection, generally a complex and challenging process of moving from awareness to a changing in behaviours. Ultimately, training is not the solution. Rather, it is the practice of inclusive behaviours, fuelled by an inclusive mindset, that creates actual inclusion. This mindset is impossible to reach if one struggles with resentment or other kinds of anxiety. 

Male leaders need the space to work through the discomfort of self-reflection and have courageous conversations about the implications of gender diversity on the workplace, the challenges this might pose for men in positions of power, including the stickiness of power dynamics and gender and race, managing misunderstandings amongst female colleagues and regularly confronting male privilege. 

Affirming the positive intent of male leaders has more potential to change than assuming them to be the enemy of diversity. This workshop serves as an ideal introduction or can be more of a "tune up" for male leaders already committed to fostering a diverse and inclusive workplace.