Saturday, 4 May 2019
Over the past 60-70 years we have seen a significant change in North American society. There has been a concerted effort to embrace those who have been disenfranchised. This policy or practice has been called ‘inclusiveness’ as we seek to acknowledge that society has never been homogenous in the sense that everyone looks, thinks, acts and believes the same things.
At the same time we have sought to respond to the injustices born by both individuals and by specific groups for discrimination based upon colour, religion, sexual orientation or ethnicity.
These are positive steps for society to take as it helps to heal wounds, promote understanding and encourage dialogue and ultimately define a new normal.
But there is an ugly underbelly to this that is inescapable.
It is the rise of the radical, both on the left and the right of the spectrum. Their positions are claimed to be as legitimate as any of the others despite the fact that their ultimate aim is division and segregation. They want nothing to do with reconciliation but they use this inclusiveness platform to promote their hatred and their divisive policies.
It seems to me that while we have done a commendable job of recognizing individual groups for their distinctiveness, we have done a much poorer job of defining how that distinctiveness meshes with others to create a properly functioning society. Stated another way, the whole must become greater than the sum of the parts.
1 + 1 + 1 + 1 = 5
What’s this got to do with leadership? Only everything!
When one group has worked so hard to be recognized, it is natural that their efforts have been done with blinders on. Without that singular focus these efforts more likely fail.
It takes leadership to knit together these fibres or fabrics of society to create a cohesive unit in which the distinctiveness is celebrated both for its’ uniqueness and for its’ contribution to the whole.
In your workplace the same premise holds true. Each member of your staff represents a unique skill set; a unique competency; a unique opportunity. It is your skill as a leader that brings together individuals to create a team. Understanding how they are motivated, how they become engaged and how they seek recognition is a skill that takes intelligence, experience and emotional investment on your part.
The task is not easy, but the rewards are worth it.
What do you need to do to change 2+2+2 into 2x2x2?