Becoming an inclusive leader is a lifelong journey of personal and professional commitments to growth. Building your cultural awareness and understanding via reading is a sound strategy. Recently, I launched a Book Club geared towards inclusive leadership.
The Wake Up: Closing the Gap Between Good Intentions and Real Change by Michelle Mijung Kim
Michelle Kim is a wonderful writer whose writing pulls you in and stirs you to do more than the bare minimum. Michelle challenges the reader to understand why we must have a compelling why for becoming inclusive leaders. What is our commitment and driving force? My why is a deep desire to see less performative actions and more authentic actions on behalf of the workplace and leaders. Authenticity is the core of my brand, and as such, I desire the following:
I want to have genuine interactions with the masses.
I want others to embrace my daughter for who she is in all her experiences.
I want my clients to resist code-switching and feel powerful in embracing their brilliance in the workplace.
I want leaders to mean what they say in their diversity statements. I want all that and more authentically.
That is my compelling why.
Another key takeaway from the book is the importance of not being performative when supporting gender identity. Michelle says it’s more than adding a pronoun to your signature. We must understand more about the entire transgender experience.
We Are Not Like Them by Christine Pride and Jo Piazza
I enjoyed reading this book and had a hard time putting it down until I had finished reading it. The story is told from diverse perspectives (predominately black and white) and gives you much to think about in authentic conversations around race and justice. The characters are genuinely complex, and the book will cause you to build your empathy muscles in unexpected ways. Some parts are hard to read and even discuss with others. When talking about it, lay out some ground rules to ensure safety in exploration and build your awareness in this authentic conversation.
I’m excited to read Caste by Isabel Wilkerson next. What are you reading to grow as an inclusive leader?
Check out our free download list of Inclusive Leadership Books