In my previous posts, we read about what inclusive leadership means, what inclusivity is, and what it means in the context of educators and academic leaders. Today, I want to think more broadly about action steps one can take to become an inclusive leader.
But first, what are the traits of great leadership?
I brainstormed with my friends and colleagues to think about all the traits we associate with great leadership, and came up with all of these: honesty, decisiveness, genuinity, restlessness, passion, communication skills, innovative thinking, generous, open-mindedness, steadiness, focused, insightful, confidence, positivity, empowered & empowering, organized and persistent.
I’ve recently become very interested in mindfulness – mindful living, mindful eating, mindful walking, mindful doing-the-dishes and so on – and the more I learn about mindfulness, the more connections I’m able to draw between it and greatness in every aspect of life.
Take leadership. By becoming more mindful, more aware of our unconscious biases, more kind towards our thoughts, we can become more inclusive leaders.
Let’s consider this scenario that actually happened in one of the schools I was mentoring teachers in (names changed for anonymity, of course). Sheila had about five and a half years teaching experience in Spain, Russia and China and had recently moved to Vietnam. She played the ukulele very well and often took it to her classes. The academic management team received complaints from teachers (of mostly very young learners) that the teacher only sang songs and played the ukulele and did not teach in the classroom. The teaching assistants complained that they had to mark progress on the course syllabus checklist but didn’t know what to write. Other teachers said Sheila didn’t spend any time planning lessons with them in the staff room, she never took flashcards or any other TLM to the classrooms.
What would an Inclusive Leader do in such a scenario? Here’s a handout from the edX course on Inclusive Leadership. Read it and think about how the manager could steer Sheila.
I’ll discuss this story and how an inclusive leader can help Sheila in my next post.