More than ever, it’s urgent San Diegans come together. Our county’s election results suggest we’re closer than other American regions. But there are more steps we can take with intentionality to increase the quality and depth of relationships among San Diego’s diverse people. I believe we get there through a determined focus on inclusion. So, I offer San Diego a resolution to commit to learn and practice inclusive leadership. The capacity for inclusive leadership is not just in some of us, it is within all of us.
Inclusion waltzes well beyond diversity. It’s likely a vast supermajority of San Diegans conceptually embrace diversity. Unfortunately, the diversity concept has simply become a celebration of perhaps Black History or International Women’s Month; Cesar Chavez or Harvey Milk Day; donating to or volunteering with a charitable organization for the elderly, disabled, refugees or otherwise marginalized; or, going to that cultural event or diversity training. Diversity has become a numbers game; inclusion is about quality – the beautiful choreography of relationships.
Inclusive leadership invites us to a richer rhythm of social interaction. It’s beyond counting heads, respecting differences, discovering commonalities or not being offensive. Inclusion is a fusion of all these things and more. A couple of quick dance moves for San Diegans to get started with as we learn and practice inclusive leadership: Lead with love and not from a place of authority, position, title or privilege. Listen to understand and not to respond, make a point or win an argument.
A few advanced moves for various San Diego County elected officials, policymakers and persons of influence: