I believe that leadership requires self-awareness and self-management. This means understanding our own strengths and weaknesses. It also means knowing what triggers us, being able to not act or react from a triggered place, accurately assessing the impact we have on others, and adjusting how we engage with others to have the impact we desire. To develop these leadership qualities, leaders must build a life of reflection and curiosity.

People who work toward social justice are used to getting beaten down by the outside world, and can respond by having to keep being right. But being right won’t help if there’s no one else in the room with you. Leadership is ultimately about relationships. Leadership means prioritizing relationships over being right.

Leadership also means learning to take responsibility for the impact we have on others. An effective leader communicates skillfully, provides the right leadership style for any situation, creates positive resonance with others, and builds a compassionate heart.

Team work is strengthened when individuals have compassion for each other, give honest and constructive feedback, are aware of and celebrate differences in identity and style, and are willing to resolve conflicts without finding fault.

To excel at working with others, individuals need to acknowledge their own weaknesses and failures, and become eager to find value in other people, their roles, and their opinions.

“Holding each other close across differences, beyond conflict, through change, is an act of resistance.”

—bell hooks