Wednesday, July 25, 2012

My New Perspective - Inclusive Leadership

By Chelsea Simmons, Alpha Gamma Delta, Chapman University

As someone who has attended many different leadership conferences, I sometimes get frustrated by the repetition in the topics and discussions. One thing that I rarely have conferences focus on is inclusion. The AFLV Session of LeaderShape is an exception to that experience.

After spending the morning learning about the power of us as individuals, we spent the night relating that to how we can work as a team and what we need to do to include everyone. The conclusion that I came to is that I am discriminatory. No one ever sat me down and taught me to be. No one ever explained privilege to me, or taught me how to use it to my advantage. Even without someone teaching me that, I still have these thoughts. I still make rash judgments based on what people look like, where people come from, their gender, their religious beliefs, and basically anything that I am unable to relate to. I am not proud of these beliefs, and in no way is this me saying these thoughts are right. But my goal after LeaderShape is to work on acknowledging these thoughts so that I can work on eliminating them.

No one is perfect, and I don’t imagine we will ever live in a world free of judgment. But I do hope that we can find a way to realize the fault in these thoughts. That we can work as leaders of any organization to be inclusive and tolerant. Just because I see the world a certain way, that doesn’t mean that everyone views the world that way. I want to work on being open to sharing my opinions and experiences without projecting those on my peers. I am hoping by the end of the week LeaderShape will give me the tools to be able to do that.

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