How Marginalized Communities Can Take the Lead
Question: How can traditionally marginalized groups better position themselves as credible leaders?
Christine Quinn: You know, I think if you are somebody who is in the community who hasn’t held large leadership positions before, whether they are elected or corporate or anything, you have to do a good job. You know what I mean? You have to do a good job, just like anybody else. And you have to make sure, just like anybody else, your work, your style, your focus, your agenda, is diverse and inclusive of lots of different people. That’s true for everyone. And I think what can trip up people sometimes is when we think too much about the fact we’re from a community that hasn’t had X, Y, or Z position before. And you focus on that as the problem as opposed to using it as an asset, or using it as something that propels you to work harder or be more focused, you know?
A member of my staff once summed it up as, you know, “This issue really isn’t how big the hurdle is, it’s just one angle you have to get at to jump over the hurdle.” And I think that’s what you have to do.
Recorded on October 28, 2010
Interviewed by Andrew Dermont
Directed & Produced by Jonathan Fowler
Beyond doing their job well, traditionally marginalized people need to view their differences as assets, not problems, says Speaker Quinn.
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According to TwoFold CEO Alison McMahon, a leader who doesn't care (or can't pretend to care) about his or her employees isn't much of a leader at all.
Why do people quit their jobs? Surely, there are a ton of factors: money, hours, location, lack of interest, etc. For Alison McMahon, an HR specialist and the CEO of TwoFold, the biggest reason employees jump ship is that they're tired of working for lousy bosses.
By and large, she says, people are willing to put up with certain negatives as long as they enjoy who they're working for. When that's just not the case, there's no reason to stick around:
Nine times out of ten, when an employee says they're leaving for more money, it's simply not true. It's just too uncomfortable to tell the truth.
Whether that's true is certainly debatable, though it's not a stretch to say that an inconsiderate and/or incompetent boss isn't much of a leader. If you run an organization or company, your values and actions need to guide and inspire your team. When you fail to do that, you set the table for poor productivity and turnover.
McMahon offers a few suggestions for those who want to hone their leadership abilities, though it seems that these things are more innate qualities than acquired skills. For example, actually caring about your workers or not depending wholly on HR thinking they can do your job for you.
It's the nature of promotions that, inevitably, a good employee without leadership skills will get thrust into a supervisory position. McMahon says this is a chronic problem that many organizations need to avoid, or at least make the time to properly evaluate and assist with the transition.
But since they often don't, they end up with uninspired workers. And uninspired workers who don't have a reason to stay won't stick around for long.
Read more at LinkedIn.
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