Leading in a diverse world

diversity signOne way and another, our team has spent a lot of time recently thinking about leadership challenges related to leading and educating a highly diverse population. We’ve shared some of our ideas and resources over the past month. Here are some of my key take-aways.

  1. Patterns and generalizations are the way our brains help us function in the world. This is necessary but I know that it also results in unconscious bais that can impact my perceptions of others around me.
  2. Knowing point #1 is important, but not enough. While I can’t change what happens unconsciously, I can work to change systems and processes in order to mitigate resulting bias.
  3. Doing #2 is critically important, but also not enough. I also need to build and support systems that allow people to bring all of their diverse ideas, viewpoints, and experiences to the table.
  4. Our changing higher ed environment requires these supportive systems. New tools for diversity and inclusion are needed to address the needs of our diverse students and to promote better decision making and collaboration.

Yesterday afternoon Todd and I facilitated a session for Academic and Student Affairs leaders where we discussed tools and strategies for promoting inclusive workplaces. While we face many challenges in reaching our goals, people were also excited about the possibilities for our system.

As Todd challenged in a recent post, we all have the ability to make small changes that can lead to a big difference. What steps would you like to take during the next fiscal year to lead and educate our highly diverse population?

Dee Anne Bonebright

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