Understanding Leadership, Diversity and Inclusion | Steve Yacovelli

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Today’s episode features Dr. Steve Yacovelli, author of  Pride Leadership and creator of TopDog Learning Group.

Steve brings an incredible amount of expertise on leadership as well as diversity and inclusion.

He also brings an interesting backstory where he went from working on a Disney Cruise line to being hired by Disney as a consultant on those very cruises.

Steve will teach us all how to listen, build trust, empathize, and ultimately to lead.

Listen, learn, and let us know what you think about this awesome episode!

Episode Summary

Steve’s Leadership Foundation

  • He got his first taste of leadership in his fraternity in College
  • Steve calls out how people just simplify leadership at times to just having people skills
  • He has distilled his leadership principles into six areas
    • Being authentic
    • Having leadership courage
    • Having empathy
    • Building relationships with those around you
    • Effective communication
    • Shaping the culture around you

Listen to Understand not just to Respond

  • He talks about how you should listen to understand and not just to respond
  • This is avoiding that feeling you get when you feel like you can’t wait for someone to stop talking so you can make your point
  • In reality, you can’t be empathetic to someone if you can’t get to really know and understand them

Inclusion is Good for Business

  • When hiring and building a team, it’s important not to hire people just like yourself
  • Not only does it increase your chances of missing a great hire, but it also opens you up for more risk
  • This risk is because you’ll hire people with your strengths but also your weaknesses
  • By hiring a more inclusive group we not only support people without bias, but we also cover our blind spots
  • Steve says it’s better to strive for conscious inclusion instead of just working on your unconscious bias
  • Later in the episode, Steve goes into more metrics of why inclusion impacts the bottom line and not just social initiatives

Leadership in LGBTQ+

  • Steve makes it clear that he’s not trying to say being straight or not means you won’t be a better or worse leader
  • Instead, he helps the LGBTQ+ community see how they can use something like their sexual orientation as a strength
  • One example he gives is authenticity
  • If he hid the fact that he had a husband, that wouldn’t be very authentic, and he helps this community spot these opportunities

There’s More Diversity to Diversity than you think

  • Sometimes we only think of diversity as race, sex, and sexual orientation but there’s a lot more
  • Steve prefers a specific model that is illustrated by layers and rings
  • In the center is our personality
  • Your personality is completely unique
  • Next out are those items we traditionally think of (sex, race, sexual orientation, etc)
  • Those are dimensions that typically don’t change frequently
  • Then you have the external dimensions which can change frequently
  • In this section, you have pay, parenthood, income, habits, physical appearance, etc
  • Next, you have the organizational dimensions (hourly, manager, legacy groups, etc)
  • Finally, you’d have the country in which you’re operating
  • This is important just because there are many different cultural norms to consider

Key Takeaways

  1. Listen: It’s always a good idea to really listen. Maybe you don’t know the person, fully understand the problem, or even know what you’re supposed to be doing. Listening can fill all of those holes.
  2. We’re all leaders: Steve made a point to call out that we can all practice leadership even if we don’t have people reporting to us.

Call to Action

When in conversation this week, make a conscious choice to really listen to others. Listen with the goal to understand and not to look for holes to poke in their argument or to show how smart you are with a great question. Instead, really listen to learn from them and understand their points.

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