The Inclusive Leader: Taking Intentional Action for Justice and Equity, Arika Tyner, PhD
Don’t let the compact size fool you—Dr. Arika Tyner’s book is jam-packed with wisdom, information, and necessary action for today’s organizations. As she notes in her conclusion, incremental movement has been so lackluster in its results that it is time for dramatic progress.
The book starts with an introduction which could be its own chapter. I hope readers will read it rather than skip directly to chapter 1 because it contains the foundation for the book. The first chapter delves into the intrapersonal aspects of being a leader and an examination of oneself, one’s knowledge and values. Chapter 2 focuses on the interpersonal and how to build healthy, inclusive teams. The third chapter probes the organization’s culture and provides guidance for building a robust DEI mandate. The final chapter provides a rousing call for personal action to do what one can to advance the course of humanity.
The book’s balance of academic style with practical application should make it a welcome addition (and required reading) for leadership, business, and law courses in colleges and universities. Corporate leaders who are new to the field of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) may struggle without the mentorship of a coach or DEI officer. The Pause-Reflect-Grow questions at the conclusion of each chapter are meaty. For example, one of the questions in chapter 1 is to consider your beliefs and values about inclusion then write a personal credo. This reflection requires knowledge and self-reflection about one’s values and role as a leader. It is not material to be read quickly before moving to the next chapter.
In Dr. Tyner’s future work, I hope she will elaborate on some of the constructs presented in this book. For example, cognitive diversity may not have ever been considered as a DEI issue by some leaders. And while the case studies she presents are compelling, it would be a treat to read her analysis of cases representing a breadth of industries.
This important book is a must-read for those entering into leadership positions from academia and those leaders who are serious about making their organizations welcoming and inclusive for all individuals.
Louise Carnachan, Work Jerks: How to Cope with Difficult Bosses and Colleagues