Diverse Leadership

By in Research on 24th Sep, 2014

Let me share with you three interesting sources that have shaped my thinking about diverse leadership since February.

Since my last musings around diverse leadership, this topic has continually resurfaced in my reading and teaching. The importance of diversity to organisations is increasingly espoused by high-profile leaders, yet the tendency to focus exclusively on gender when we talk and think about ‘diversity’ can constrain our progress towards more meaningful dialogue and change.

The Business Case for Diverse Leadership
In this interview with Adam Grant, Sallie Krawcheck, former executive at the Bank of America, argues how gender biases hold back economic growth. Krawcheck is keenly intelligent in her responses. She observes how leadership “is the result of thousands and thousands of micro lessons over long periods of time”, suggesting that leadership is processual rather than a universal fixed set of competencies. This interview represents the conventional economically-driven approach to how business leadership has understood diversity.

Emma Watson’s recent speech at the United Nations has gone viral. In it, she eloquently speaks to why feminism is for everybody and what boys and men can do to join women in solidarity. Although the ideas are not new to feminist movements, they have garnered public attention and interest in a way I haven’t seen in a while. I will be following the HeForShe movement with interest to see if and how it develops.

bell hooksLean In? No, Step Out and Dig Deep
Female executives like Sheryl Sandberg have risen to prominence in recent years as advocates and exemplars of (gender) diversity in leadership. In this provocative essay, bell hooks boldly argues why phenomena like Lean In are faux feminism. hooks’ shows how movements that are ostensibly pro-diversity may in fact be reinforcing the status quo, that is, “the same old white heteropatriarchy that defines American Empire”. hooks articulates the vision for women to do our part to change the world for freedom and justice and create optimal wellbeing for all men and women.

Manveer HeirMisogyny, Racism, and Homophobia: Where Do Video Games Stand?
As you know, I like looking for ‘leadership’ in unlikely places and this time I think I’ve found it in gaming. In a detailed and considered hour-long lecture at the Game Developers Conference, Manveer Heir of BioWare Montréal delivers the challenge to and offers a way forward for social justice via video games.

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