THE NETWORK @ Leadership & Diversity by IMS Luxembourg

Recently, The Network had the privilege of attending a event organized by IMS Luxembourg, featuring the speaker Michael Stuber. The event, aptly titled "Leadership and Diversity," delved deep into the complexities of diversity and leadership in the corporate world. Stuber's speech not only shed light on historical milestones but also highlighted the urgent need for change in how we approach diversity and leadership.

Michael Stuber's talk commenced with a poignant historical fact: in 1972, Katharine Graham shattered the glass ceiling by becoming the first female CEO of a Fortune 400 company. Her pioneering achievement serves as a reminder of the long journey toward gender diversity in leadership roles. 

Stuber then addressed critical issues in the diversity and leadership landscape:

Implicit Intoxication: This term refers to the unconscious biases and prejudices that individuals may hold, often without realizing it. Implicit intoxication can hinder genuine diversity and inclusion efforts by perpetuating stereotypes and bias.

Problematic Tokenism: Problematic tokenism occurs when organizations merely superficially embrace diversity by highlighting differences without addressing the underlying issues. This can lead to a shallow commitment to diversity initiatives. Stuber pointed out that some companies limit their diversity efforts to celebrating international events such as International Women's Day or LGBTQ+ Pride Month, without making meaningful, long-term changes within their organizations.

The Biological Solution Fallacy: Another problematic approach mentioned by Stuber is the idea of waiting for the next generation to address diversity issues. This "biological solution" mindset ignores the immediate need for change and perpetuates the status quo.

Reaffirming the Norm: Discussions and solutions often reaffirm the white male leader as the norm. This separation between traditional and diverse leadership can trap individuals in an identity that doesn't allow for authentic expression and diversity. Leaders might look different but still act the same. It is important that diversity not only reflect in appearances but also in actions. 

Leaders' Unconscious Bias: Leaders, Stuber argued, often believe that they have earned their positions solely based on merit without being aware of their privilege and their bias. Consequently, they may underestimate the complexity of diversity and overestimate their ability to handle it. This self-assuredness can lead to biases going unchecked.

The Role of Executive Education: Stuber pointed out a glaring gap in leadership education—there's a lack of diversity-focused courses and discussions. He emphasized the need for change in executive education to promote inclusive leadership.

Hope on the Horizon

Despite the challenges, Stuber shared optimism about the future. Emerging trends, such as digitalization, globalization, a faster pace of change, resilience, and the reinforcement of ethics and values through movements like #MeToo and Black Lives Matter, are pushing the world toward positive change. Stuber outlined five key tasks that future leaders should prioritize:

Five Key Tasks for Future Leaders 

  1. Sense Making
  2. Connecting and Navigating
  3. Collaboration
  4. Support, Inspiration, and Motivation
  5. Role Modeling

Stuber suggested one-on-one coaching for C-level leaders and emphasized the importance of making diversity relevant to non-C-level management. He stressed that everyone must understand why diversity matters.

Promoting Diversity on a Daily Basis

Stuber reminded the audience that it's team members and coworkers who shape a company's culture and the everyday experiences of diversity. Encouraging diversity starts with everyday actions. The talk concluded with Stuber discussing the concept of active allyship, which is a responsibility for everyone. He outlined five key factors:

Active Allyship

  • Self-awareness
  • All-time alertness
  • Paradigm shift
  • Authentic action
  •  "We have to be the diversity and inclusion we want to see"

Michael Stuber's insightful speech at the IMS Luxembourg event left us with a profound understanding of the challenges surrounding leadership and diversity. It's clear that meaningful change in this arena requires a collective effort, from leadership to every team member, to create inclusive workplaces that reflect the diversity of our society. Stuber's message serves as a rallying call for a more equitable and inclusive future.