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Learning Leadership from the LGBTQ+ Culture


Hey guys, welcome to the Lean to the Left podcast, where we talk about progressive politics and the important social issues of our time. Today we’re looking at leadership and what some might think is an unlikely resource – the LGBTQ+ community.


Our guest is Dr. Joel A. Davis Brown is the Chief Visionary Officer of Pneumos LLC, a management consulting and coaching firm based in San Francisco, USA, and Nairobi, Kenya, specializing in organizational strategy and culture, transformational leadership, global inclusion, executive coaching, conflict resolution, and strategic storytelling.


Joel is the author of a new book, “The Soul of Queer Folk, How Understanding the LGBTQ+ Culture Can Transform Your Leadership Practice.”


He is also the co-founder of metaPrincipleTM, a global institute designed to train practitioners on how to facilitate equity work anywhere around the world.


Joel is an adjunct professor at the IESEG School of Management in Paris & Lille, France, where he teaches Storytelling for Leaders and Story Listening. As a change agent, Joel works strategically to cultivate innovative, creative, and adaptive environments where the cultural genius of everyone can be harnessed and leveraged successfully.


On the podcast, Dr. Davis Brown says prejudice and violence against the queer community is on the rise in this country and elsewhere, and he blames right wing politicians and religious zealots for making that situation work.


“Anytime there is quote unquote advances in equity and advances in progressive politics, if you will, there's always a backlash, and I think it's become sport, unfortunately, for a number of factions in our country to denigrate queer people because it helps to raise money, helps generate clicks. It helps to get people riled up,” he says.


“They know that they don't have anything substantive to talk about. And so, it's a way for them to stay relevant, to stay in power and queer people have always been, for whatever reason, easy scapegoats because we still are a relatively marginalized community.”


However, Dr. Davis Brown stresses that there is much that can be learned about leadership from the LGBTQ+ culture, which is the topic of his book, ““The Soul of Queer Folk,” including the ability to “interrogating itself to figure out who we are.”


In addition, he says, “recognizing that there's a connection between all of us and that what I do for myself and what I do for others also impacts the world around us, but also recognizing that supporting justice in the world and such, creating a more just society is something that can't just be born out on social media and it just can't be talked about in private circles is something that you actively have to take action to achieve. And so those are some of the key lessons that I think we could learn from the LGBTQ+ community.”


Here are some questions we addressed with Dr. Davis Brown:


● Why did you name the book “The Souls of Queer Folk”? ● Why should a person who is not LGBTQ+-identified read this book? ● What key themes should readers take away from this book? ● Who could benefit from this book? Is this only for corporate professionals? Who’s the ideal audience? ● What does the LGBTQ+ community possess that makes it an ideal case study for leadership? ● What is Cultural Genius™? And how does it apply to leadership and the theme of your book? ● What does it mean to be a transformational leader, and how does the LGBTQ+ community exhibit transformational leadership? ● Why is this book timely right now? ● Don’t other ethnic or social communities exhibit leadership? Why should we focus on the LGBTQ+ community? ● How do you define transformational leadership? ● How is this book different from traditional books on leadership? ● What does it mean to be Queer-minded? ● How is the LGBTQ+ community able to survive despite such daunting circumstances and how can they continue to persevere? ● It seems like the LGBTQ+ community increasingly is confronted with acts of hate and violence. Has this worsened in recent years, and if so, why?


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