Equity levels the playing field by recognizing that we don't all start from the same place or need the same things. Equity acknowledges that each employee has different needs and circumstances and ensures that each employee has the specific set of resources and opportunities that they need to succeed in the workplace. With a mindset toward equity, companies acknowledge specific needs related to demographics such as ethnicity, race, gender and gender identity, disabilities, and more. The needs and struggles faced by certain individuals are taken into account in decision-making and all employees have the support and resources they need to succeed.
Becoming an inclusive leader requires learning, reflection, and changing old habits and mindsets. But I believe that no matter whether you already consider yourself an advocate for diversifying the teams, communities, and workplaces in your life, or whether you are just starting to consider how some of the people around you might have a tougher climb up the ladder, this book will meet you where you are and help you progress to become a more inclusive leader.
A NEW THEORY OF CHANGE: THE INCLUSIVE LEADER CONTINUUM
Over years of doing DEI work with countless organizations and leaders, I started noticing commonalities in leaders' perspectives and learning patterns. The people who were just beginning to understand the importance of inclusion had similar struggles and opportunities. Similarly, the people at the other end of the spectrum—those who had dedicated their careers to becoming advocates for those who are less represented (including themselves, in some cases) also had their own set of struggles and opportunities.
Because I had gotten to know so many people on their journey to becoming more inclusive leaders, it seemed natural to develop a multistage model for learners to use to identify their current state—in terms of knowledge and mindset—and most importantly, to anticipate next steps and develop goals for progress toward something. As human beings, we need to have at least a sense of what we're shooting for. In the book, I use the Inclusive Leader Continuum as a four-stage framework to help individuals at all levels locate themselves and progress forward in their journeys to become inclusive leaders. I am so proud that the Continuum has enabled so many to ground themselves in their learning learning journeys and has given them a common structure and language to not only share about those journeys, but to get and give support to others along their way. This is not work we undertake alone. The four stages of the Continuum are the same four stages in this second edition of the book as they were in the first. To make your journey more actionable, in this second edition, I have created a new structure for each of the stages, added new stories, and shared new tips. In addition, I have provided Discussion Guides for each of the four stages.
Here are the four stages:
In the Unaware stage, you learn more about the experiences and challenges that people with other identities face. You educate yourself about the concept of bias and begin to examine your own biases and how they impact your perceptions of the world and the people around you. You embrace humility and acknowledge what you
In the Aware stage, you learn more about the concept of privilege and understand better that the playing field is not level for everyone. You educate yourself about your own identities and those of other people and how our identities shape the way we experience the world around us. As you learn more about different lived experiences, you develop empathy and are motivated to contribute to the change effort.
In the Active stage, you put your learning into action. You take risks in the interests of positive change and embrace a mindset of failing forward. You allow yourself to be vulnerable. You share your story and seek out the stories of other people. You lead and participate in difficult and uncomfortable conversations as learning opportunities. You dive deeper into DEI and get personally involved.
In the Advocate stage, you leverage your power and influence to propel change. You draw attention to systemic inequities and get involved in solving them. You work in allyship with others to shift systems and behaviors and take action to disrupt the status quo. You exhibit resilience when you encounter resistance and continue to move forward even when it means breaking away from old norms and groups.
This excerpt is from the paperback edition.