How leadership criteria leaves out women of color

Current conceptions of leadership often exclude women of color from positions of power in organizations, but this issue can be remedied given the right steps, according to a Harvard Business Review article.

Women of color face a double disadvantage in ascending organizations' hierarchies as the leadership archetype in the U.S. centers on straight white men and values masculine leadership attributes, according to the article.

To combat this problem, organizations can alter their values so they recognize the often unseen skills and knowledge of marginalized groups, and thus better recognize the leadership abilities of women of color, according to the article.

Some of the beneficial alterations companies can make on this front, according to the article include:

1. Valuing resistance capital, or the skills communities of color gain resisting systems of oppression. Resistance capital is a powerful tool that can be drawn on to help spur company growth.

2. Valuing navigational capital, or the skills communities of color gain by navigating institutions not built with them in mind. Female leaders of color can teach these skills to other employees and help organizations retain female workers of color.

3. Valuing linguistic capital, or the communication skills gained by communicating in different languages and cultures. Leaders that have linguistic capital can help reduce an organization's decision bias and improve company communication overall.

Read the full article here.

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