My fall night class on leadership is wrapping up at UC Berkeley. When I started teaching this class I have to admit I was nervous. Previously, I had taught marketing which was my background before starting my C Corp Ocean SF. Teaching marketing was easy compared to teaching leadership. I spent six months reading 1500 pages on leadership, not to mention studying great leaders in every way possible by reading articles and watching movies. I’ve now taught four terms. It literally took me 120 hours to feel truly comfortable doing it, but each class teaches me something new as leadership is a very complex subject.
When I started my daughters who were home from college due to the pandemic would make me a late dinner. This has continued on as a tradition even though my other daughter is back at college. My eldest has graduated and is now home. She made me a beautiful dinner after a recent class and I was able to share with her what had transpired over the past three hours.
Each of my classes has a different personality. They are comprised of working adults from all over the world and all walks of life. I have executives from Apple, Pay Pal, Docusign and other great companies, plus professionals from many other backgrounds. The class has been through so many cultural changes in our society sparked by the pandemic and the intense social movements of our time. There is so much to talk about in terms of leadership at this time that it is an honor to be doing this work.
Much of what I feel is necessary in terms of leading in this environment is an ability to be globally sensitive. When I began this class there were no guidelines on how to side step the land mines involved in working with people of such diverse backgrounds, ages and race. In a world colored by both macro and micro aggression in terms of discrimination how do we come together, work together and more importantly lead?
Racism, sexism, ageism are a part of our world and dealing with these issues and how they impact our teams and work environments is of the upmost importance. Creating safe and productive work environments and growing together is our goal.
The answer is simple; as most important concepts are. We must be aware of and sensitive to each other and that is all that is required. We only need to learn to listen and simply seek to understand each other.
People who are sensitive to the feelings and needs of others make the best leaders. Therefore listening is an art worth cultivating. It requires work, self-discipline, and skill. The art of communication comes more from knowing when to listen than it does from knowing how to use words well. Great leaders spend a good deal of their time listening, and trying to understand how the world is changing.
Love and blessings to all.