I am not sure about you, but I feel like we are slipping in our ability to advance. The rhetoric caters to restoring a past that has passed us by. Coal or steel are not coming back to being robust industries, and tax cuts as the sole solution for every problem lack innovation in reducing healthcare costs or investing in needed infrastructure. Short-term business focus cuts short trust, engagement, and loyalty. We need a new literacy in our personal leadership.

Our future is more important than our past. The purpose of the past is to learn and advance. Being grateful for what the past offers is vital while creating a future that delivers better experiences and opportunities. Our new literacy requirements involve leading with these ideals.

To engage these necessary ideals, our personal leadership requires a new literacy. Here is where to begin.

Media Literacy

In the past, media was the mainstay to stay informed. Trust existed even with gripes of being too liberal or too whatever. Politics have overtaken what is good with our media and journalism. We have forgotten what good journalists do, how they do it, and the code of ethics they strive to uphold. While there is a difference between opinion journalism and news journalism, our imperative is to know the dissimilarity and treat each uniquely. We should not accept – just as the U.S. Senate has not – the voice that the press is the “enemy of the people” or “fake news.” Both campaign tactics divide, denigrate, and miss the understanding of journalism.

Being grateful for what the past offers is vital while creating a future that delivers better experiences and opportunities. Our new literacy requirements involve leading with these ideals.

We need to remember that the media is an accountability check on government and business. Besides reporting news, media and journalism deliver a necessary balance to power.

Our literacy requirement is to renew our insights into how a journalist develops a story and the ethics they work to uphold. We also need to refresh our understanding of the essential role media and journalism plays in our society – at large and locally.

Society Literacy

Society is not about segments, factions, and sameness. Society is about neighborhoods, communities, and diversity. It is local while extending to states, a nation, and a world network. Our society contains citizens, business people, government professionals, tradesman, artists, and a mix of workers, families, and friends. We may have forgotten that our society is a fabric of unique threads and patterns, showcasing individuals while illustrating how we are stronger together when focused on meaning and purpose.

Society is a conglomerate of many diverse elements. Our leadership mission is to create environments and set the example of how to connect diversity for innovation and results. Threaded through this mission is fostering equity and impact. After all, society is us, all of us – no matter what makes us different. What makes us different creates a stronger society when purpose and inclusion are engaged.

Organizational Culture Literacy

Organizational culture literacy is similar to society. After all, our organizational culture is a subset of our society. Organizational culture matters to the health of a business. With any culture, challenges always exist, but ignoring them or fostering greater division does not work. Although we know the power of cohesion and mission, too often leaders create an atmosphere of politics and inequity. Sometimes it is intentional; at other times it is not. We need to be intentional about understanding organizational dynamics and finding ways for equity of treatment and cohesiveness around purpose.

Just as in society, we are all unique. Being unique should not mean we are excluded. Everyone’s uniqueness strengthens an organization’s aim for growth, profitability, and contributing positively to our communities and society. When our organizational culture is strong and equitable, family life improves. When both happen, society advances. As leaders, we need to understand these connection points as part of our organizational culture literacy.

Our New Personal Leadership Literacy Requirements

Journalism and media inform society and culture while holding each accountable. Society informs organizational culture and vice versa. When engaged between the three, our personal leadership becomes more insightful and centered on producing better results. To gain and renew this traction, we need to improve our literacy on each. Woven through it all, we need to remember that equality does not necessarily translate into equity. We need to strive for both.

Advancing our personal leadership skills and abilities requires a new literacy. Are you ready for the challenge?


Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash
New literacy requirements are upon us to advance our personal leadership. New literacy centers on media, society, and culture.