Leadership Quote

Leadership Quote
"The task of the leader is to get his people from where they are to
where they have not been."
~ Henry Kissinger
Leadership Lesson
This is the time of year when recruiting new members is at an all time high. In an effort to be
welcoming to all members of your campus community think about how you can be more inclusive and
be aware of the language you and your peers are using. Help, rather than hurt, your group's
participation and retention.
What’s in a name? There will probably be several occasions when you discuss hypothetical
situations with your group members. In order to be inclusive, don’t always use Anglo-oriented names.
Instead, use names from a variety of cultures in your case studies, examples and stories. It just might
make a difference to the Hispanic woman in your group to hear “Marta” used sometimes instead of
always hearing names like “Michael” and “Sally.”
Let go of assumptions. Not all students come from two-parent families. Not all are in relationships.
Not all have the same sexual orientation. Some may have children of their own back home. Not all
will be of the same age. Not all went directly from high school to college. Get the picture?
Assumptions can alienate!
Steer clear of words that can harm. Expressions such as “That’s so retarded” or “You’re so gay” or
“It’s ghetto” may have no impact. Yet, there’s also the possibility that someone may silently feel
excluded through a seemingly benign comment. Trying to be funny or to “fit in” can inadvertently
alienate the people you’re trying to reach. Who knows if someone has a brother with a disability who
suffers from the “retarded” label? Who knows if someone is struggling with coming out of the closet
and hears the term “gay” used in a derogatory fashion? It’s better not to take that potentially
damaging chance.
Avoid inside jokes. Be sure not to overuse campus jargon, acronyms and terms students and
parents who may not understand all the references. You also don’t want to lapse into “inside joke
telling,” just because it’s comfortable for you. The object of your position is to include people, not
exclude them!
This week consider this reflection...
Take some time to consider your current membership. Is there diversity in your group, including
different ideas and backgrounds? You will be a richer group if many perspectives are being brought to
the table.
• How can you promote your group beyond the traditional means? What “voices” are missing?
• Do you know how you will respond if hurtful language is used by a member? Identify steps you will
take to address offensive language or comments.
• Who can help you assess your current membership and identify ways to welcome new members
and perspectives to your group endeavors?
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