Leadership In and For a Diverse World

Posted December 2nd, 2008 at 4:54 pm.

Diversity Conversation 10-3-08

This week’s discussion began with some word association:

What does diversity mean to you?

Difference, inherently. Excellence, potentially. Uniqueness, collaboration, understanding, celebration, barriers, and transformation.

What do you associate with leadership?

Self-reflection. A role model. Vision, honesty, humility, respect. Action: accountability and responsibility. A listener, a mediator, a collaborator, a learner. Informed, insightful, passionate and necessary.

Within those associations, how do diversity and leadership contribute to each other?

As one faculty member said, the basic idea behind the usefulness of diversity to leadership is that “all of us are smarter than one of us. Looking at the situation from different angles is the only way to see all sides.”

Incorporating and mediating multiple perspectives can create challenges and fracture, but these challenges in turn can become opportunities for growth.

However, one of the greatest challenges to leadership on campus discussed was, again, the four-year lifespan. Students in leadership positions often come up against long-standing culture and have an extremely short time frame in which to make an impact. It is key that leaders share their vision with their successors, and analyze what their predecessors shared with them.

Lastly, as a student quoted, “a true word can transform the world.” In leadership, the act to mediating multiple perspectives does not equate trying to please everyone, but to be honest with and true to one’s self and one’s context.

Filed under: civic engagement,diversity,leadership by Vanessa Christman

Comments are closed.