Salsa, Soul and Spirit
Does not do the trick
Salsa, Soul, and Spirit: Leadership for a multicultural age. I have to say, I was very excited and had high expectations of this book. The title and the cover were both catchy and at the same time promised a broader understanding of leadership from different perspectives and how to really tackle leadership when you are working with diverse populations (or so I thought). I expected this book to serve as a guide, or at least starting ground in knowing how to work with and motivate leaders who come from different backgrounds. To my understanding the book offers a different purpose and focuses instead on what diverse communities (specifically latino, black and American Indian) have to contribute to the conversation of leadership. It focuses more on what they can do for the “majority” (by contributing new insights of leadership) rather than what the “majority” can do for them. This is not necessarily a bad thing. It is important to provide a platform to those voices, and this book does a good job in showcasing that leadership should be more inclusive as it has different takes on different cultures. It just is not what I was expecting from the book, although I probably should have paid more attention to the subtitle “New approaches to leadership from Latino, Black, and American Indian communities”.
Keeping that approach in mind, the book becomes more likeable. We can all learn from each of the principles described and use them to inform our own leadership, how we talk about it and even how we carry out our daily lives. I appreciated the principle that talked about the future generations. The importance of building connections with those leaders of the future, and helping them be ready for their own time to take on the world. It is essentially what we do in this field, and reading about it from a different culture’s approach was intriguing.
There was one concept I had a little bit of a problem with (if you can call it that). The second principle I to We. On first glance it seemed like a good concept, especially when it comes to talking about leadership. At its very core leadership should be more like collectivistic cultures, taking everyone into consideration, embracing everyone. Leadership should be more about others and less about oneself. While I was reading this section however, a thought popped into my mind. It sounds awesome, lets focus more on the we and less on the I. The problem comes when we begin to think of who the we is. The we should be everyone, we should be including and advocating for everyone to be part of our collective we. While I have no problem believing society at large could embrace the “we” dialogue and want to move to that, I find it difficult to believe the we would truly include everyone. Society tends to be selective in this and it would be the first hurdle to overcome before fully taking on a collectivistic approach.