In the third module of OutLeaderships OutNEXT curriculum. Jane, Kelly and Chris discuss the topic of intersectionality and the importance of self-awareness.
Brought to popularity through academia, intersectionality is defined as, “the interconnected nature of social categories such as race, class, gender as they apply to a given group or individual, regarded as creating overlapping and interdependent systems of discrimination or disadvantage.”
Every person has many different identities that combine to make their complete identity. Often, a person will have many more identities beneath what is presented on the outside. Our panelists explained this using the iceberg metaphor. The tip of the iceberg (visible characteristics) are the characteristics about you that someone could identify just by looking at you. The submerged part of the iceberg (invisible characteristics) are the parts about you that one would inly know if they got to know you more personally. The iceberg metaphor allows us to more easily reflect on our own identities characteristics so we can be more self aware of our positioning among our peers.
By being more self aware and understanding our own intersectionality we are able to better understand others personal intersectional identities. Those who score higher on self awareness metrics often make better leaders and rise in their company more quickly. By understanding and expressing your own intersectionality characteristics it makes you more personable and compassionate towards others thus making you a more effective leader. This idea can also be explained using the, “leading by example” concept. If you are self-aware and express your dedication to that awareness, the people you influence will follow suit and ultimately respect and follow your leadership more.