I’m grateful to have been invited in to a number of conversations on diversity lately. What does it look like to pursue diversity in the marketplace, in our communities, in our inner circles? This is a critical question to ask yourself as a leader. This is a critical question to ask yourself period. Singleminded leadership is preparing yourself for a tragic outcome. Homogeneity in the workplace can foster a “comfort zone” mentality that reduces innovation and effectiveness. We were created to exist in community and that means dealing with different opinions, experiences, approaches, and perspectives as we embrace the uniqueness of those around us. Avoidance of this reality simply perpetuates the status quo, often leading to a narrow-mindedness that fosters resentment, frustration, and a lack of sustainable growth.
Greater than leadership requires courage on so many levels. It’s a call to be different in a culture that might just be pressuring you to be the same. It’s daring to do differently, to engage when others disengage, to stand out when sometimes it’s easier to fit in.
Cultivating intentional diversity is a vital component of greater than leadership but it often requires difficult conversations, a willingness to be vulnerable, and to humbly admit our ignorances. It necessitates bold decision making and patient pursuit. It demands listening even more than talking. And for finance executive, Mellody Hobson, it demands the conscious choice to be color brave instead of color blind.