Lesson #18 from 30 Leadership Lessons

David Sallee

On the topic of diversity and pluralism, Eboo Patel wrote, “Like Harvard University Professor Diana Eck, I define diversity as simply the fact of people and groups with different identities living in close quarters. Pluralism, according to Eck, is an achievement — it is the proactive engagement of this diversity toward positive ends. My own definition of pluralism has three parts: respect for different identities, positive relationships between diverse communities, and a collaborative commitment to the common good. Diverse societies that achieve pluralism have a strong civic fabric — one that can withstand the provocations of extremists and haters — and bridge their social capital in ways that can take on some of their toughest social problems. But bridges don’t fall from the sky or rise from the ground: people build them. [emphasis added] And the people who are on the vanguard of such work, we call leaders.”

In the end, bridge builders get the work done and grow people at the same time.