What can leaders learn from college faculty about customer service? I was pondering this question as I participated in our annual Academic and Student Affairs/Equity and Inclusion conference two weeks ago. After listening to LuAnn Wood, Student Success Coordinator at Century College, describe the work she is doing at their Institute for Culturally Responsive Pedagogy (ICRP) my answer is yes! Similar to faculty needing to change how they teach to ensure the success of students from all cultures, leaders need to change how they lead to support the success of the ever increasing diverse population of employees.
In the book, Culturally Responsive Leadership in Higher Education, leaders are challenged to change their leadership practice to meet the needs of all their employees, regardless of their diverse cultural backgrounds. They identify nine key activities that leaders can use to examine and develop their leadership to be more culturally responsive.
- Initiate and engage in critical conversations with individuals from different cultures and who have a different point-of view.
- Choose to use a critical lens and examine multiple cultural perspectives when making decisions.
- Use consensus building decision-making and consciously acknowledge stereotypes.
- Use research-based information to better understand differences between cultural groups and outcomes.
- Honor all members of your constituencies.
- Lead by example to meet the needs of different cultures.
- Take on the responsibility to bring cultural issues to your stakeholders to get resolution.
- Build trust with stakeholders who are not yet culturally responsive.
- Lead for the greater good of all cultures.
Where do you have an opportunity to be more culturally responsive?