As we mentioned last week, our definition of leadership is influencing others and being influenced by others regardless of your role or title. It’s a way of being in the world that can change lives and elevate justice.

We will continue to come back to this definition in order to encourage people to open up and listen to one another’s experiences deeply enough that they are, in fact, changed by the interaction.

Leadership is the willingness to influence
your world and be influenced by your world,
regardless of your role or title.

In order to challenge the systemic bias in our country, we’ll all need to step into our leadership. As a leader, standing on the sidelines hoping others will fix things is not an option, but neither is bulldozing over others believing that your way is the only way.

Therefore, you have to learn how to engage in dialogues that allow for people to share their fears, hopes, and experiences. Genuine leaders can empathize with others and are moved by their experiences whether or not they have witnessed them personally.

When you choose to live as a leader, you’re choosing to initiate dialogue with others with the intention of creating the greatest success.

Last week, we described the importance of influencing others. This week, we want to talk about being influenced by others and suggest some things you can do today to open yourself to the experiences of the Black, Indigenous, and People of Color in your community and the world.

Being influenced by your world requires:

Staying curious rather than being certain. 
  • Pause and reflect on the events going on in our country and the world today.
  • Are you open to seeing how People of Color are treated?
  • Are you willing to consider the range of experiences people in our nation have as they go through their lives?
  • Are you open to understanding how you may have unwittingly contributed to the problems in the world today?
Learning how to manage your feelings without closing down or lashing out.
  • Practice recognizing that there is not just one truth—there are many truths.
  • Get skilled at listening without judgement—especially when your beliefs are being called into question.
Be Open to Changing Your Mind.
  • In the spiral of influencing and being influenced by, it’s likely that you—if you are genuinely influenced by—will change your thoughts and mind in ways you may not have thought possible.
  • Remind yourself that changing your mind is not a sign of weakness but a sign of growth and competence. The most powerful leaders are genuinely influenced and changed by the wisdom and perspectives of others.

This week, consider how you can be influenced by the stories and experiences of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color in your community and your world. When you can, step into conversations about how you can be an ally in this change.

If you find you’re still working on the steps above and don’t feel confident in a conversation, then consider watching some or all of the following:

Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man Episode 2:
A wonderful conversation with Emmanuel Acho and Matthew McConaughy

A profoundly important documentary on the experience of being Black in the United States after the “end” of slavery

We’re here for you.