- Discussion: 3
- First person
What is leader identity and how does it interface with our other social identities? in the context of a black person that I am, my leadership identity is always linked my social identity. While with every other ethnic group, leadership has to do with traits and the characteristics of a leader. In my case, I have found there is a tendency to pre-judge my leadership ability from the context of my identity. In other words, of what others see when they look at me. They can not pass the fact that I am a leader, but I am also a black leader. Whereas, an Anglo Saxon is simply a leader. Difference makes a difference (Chin & Trimble, 2015, p. 89).
Leadership identity has some internal expectations from those who are called to work under a leader. By internal expectation, I am referring to what others expect a leader ought to be, and these expectations are totally different from the self or from the way the leader perceives the self (Chin & Trimble, 2015). The question boils down to how society defines the self for others to see. A black leader may be the most articulate, educated, and well intention leader, but his skin color will determine whether or not others see him as a leader.
Thus, what leaders bring to the leadership table is what others have learned from these leaders’ race, gender as others are brought up in this world (Chin & Trimble, 2015). A black person was promoted super Intendant of a school district and one employee automatically had a low expectation of this person because he was black. Automatically there was an interference with this person leadership and the perception about his race and he can bring to the table.
Some leaders walk a fine line between being openly visible and quietly invisible about their identities. Discuss the question: Do you bring all of yourself to work? Discuss why or why not The answer to this is no. I am very much aware of others’ expectations of me in the workplace. So I choose to be quietly invisible in many instances. Of course, there are times, I have to remove myself from the situation and speak about what must be said. However, even if it is something commonly known, I must address in a format that is “acceptable”. So the black person has to be mindful of certain ways to address the audience for fear of being “too loud: or too judgmental or too black (Chin & Trimble, 2015).The reason is to be quietly invisible.
Chin, J. L. & Trimble, J. E. (2015). Diversity and leadership. Los Angeles, CA: Sage
- What is leader identity and how does it interface with our other social identities?According to Chin & Trimble (2015) describing leadership by traits alone fails to take into account unique aspects that go into making a leader including gender, ethnicity, culture, and social roles. This is why leader identity is so important when understanding what creates a good leader. It allows researchers to look at leadership from a more diverse perspective. This leadership identity also ties in with our social identity (Chin & Trimble, 2015). Leaders are often perceived as such based on the groups they surround themselves with. There is an old saying that goes something like ‘you are who you surround yourself with’. You can tell a lot about a leader by who they choose to keep close in their lives. If you see a leader who hangs out with notorious crooks, a person will immediately distrust them. If you see a leader who hangs out with local philanthropists and charitable businesses, a person may be more willing to support them.
- Some leaders walk a fine line between being openly visible and quietly invisible about their identities. Discuss the question: Do you bring all of yourself to work? Discuss why or why not.
- I did not use to bring all of myself to work, as I was never fully certain who I was. I often found myself adapting my personality and identity to the situation, doing what I thought would make those around me happy. It is only in recent years did I begin to become confident in myself as a person and as a leader. I know that sometimes an unpopular decision needs to be made for the greater good. Sometimes it is not worth having someone like me if it means compromising my own morals. I realized a leader does what they can to unite and nurture, while understanding they also have to make the hard choices. I am not perfect, and I sometimes still find myself doing something for someone else that I do not agree with completely. But happily, that is becoming more infrequent as I stand up for who I am and what I believe and begin to show my true identity as a leader.
Chin, J. L. & Trimble, J. E. (2015). Diversity and leadership. Los Angeles, CA: Sage. Reply