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leading challenge 1K px

I am deeply disturbed by the things happening in America now – and I do not want to react irrationally. As a leader, I know the importance of pausing before acting or speaking on complex matters of great importance. Rash actions in times like these can look pretty poor in hindsight.

I am against personal and societal racism. I firmly and unequivocally believe that black lives matter. I sincerely hope that we are making a crucial pivot in our society toward equality for all.

I am appalled that police have killed and attacked unarmed civilians. People in positions of power have a responsibility to care for others. However, I do not believe that all police are terrible people. It is unacceptable to condemn an entire group of people as being a certain way; that is stereotyping.

I am white, female, and old. I can only offer views from that perspective. However, I am listening to other perspectives. Good leaders listen and help where they can.

If you are a leader in an organization, it’s important to talk about what is going on. Asking questions and listening is the way to begin. Asking “How can I help?” is a good next step. We all have an elephant in every room right now, and it’s best to talk about it rather than ignore it. Strategic actions come next.

As difficult as it may be, my request for the world would be for us all to presume good intent as much as possible as we move forward and change. I am sure to insult someone even though my intentions are good. I hope that anyone who knows me would not assume that I am being intentionally malicious, mean, or racist. If we can create some psychological safety for each other, we can have productive discussions that will lead to understanding and tangible solutions. It’s the only way for us to move forward together in partnership.

Personally, I plan to listen and do more research. There is great power in listening fully to what someone has to say. When we feel heard, we feel seen. I will find groups in alignment with my values and support them. I also plan to vote and encourage others to vote. We need politicians at the local, state, and national levels who answer to the people and not money. It’s one big-picture action that I can do for this very complicated problem. It’s an action that I feel passionate about.

The only other things that I can do now are to act with integrity, see people as people with value equal to my own, and call out instances of any sort of unfairness – whether it is racism, chauvinism, homophobia, or any other form of discrimination. That’s one small-scale action that each of us can do.

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