In many companies, the approach to shaping culture can be quite superficial. Our guest, LaTonya Wilkins, suggests it’s time to go “below the surface” and embrace a radically inclusive leadership style. This interview explores her signature REAL leadership system which creates psychologically safe relationships across differences, empowers underrepresented employees to feel valued, heard, and engaged – and creates cultures of belonging in the workplace.

Episode Highlights

In this interview, LaTonya and I discuss:

  • What “below the surface” leadership really means.
  • Why some things don’t scale when it comes to culture.
  • What stops people from leading below the surface.
  • The key hows of cultivating relationships with people who are different from us.
  • How our systems and practices can have an undesirable impact on our culture.
  • How we can challenge our personal biases by analyzing the performance of our team members.
  • Why we need to change the way we do our one-on-ones to create more psychological safety and the role questions play in this.
  • REAL leadership – being relatable, equitable, aware, and loyal.

Listen to the interview in the player below or on iTunes. If you like what you hear, please leave a review, and it may be featured on a future episode.

More About LaTonya Wilkins

Founder of The Change Coaches, LaTonya Wilkins partners with executives, upwardly mobile professionals, and teams to build cultures of belonging through highly customized coaching and consulting services. She is a sought-after keynote speaker and has inspired audiences all over the world. She built her career working in HR, talent management and learning & development at Fortune 500 companies before teaching and taking on progressive leadership roles at the University of Illinois’ Gies College of Business. LaTonya is currently the President of the True Star Youth Foundation board. She gained industry recognition when she was featured on the peer-nominated list of most inclusive HR influencers in 2019.

LaTonya developed her signature concept of Below the Surface Leadership based on her own experience climbing the corporate ladder and researching across disciplines while constantly being the “only one” on her teams. This revolutionary approach to leadership is about creating psychologically safe relationships across differences, empowering underrepresented employees to feel valued, heard, and engaged, and creating cultures of belonging in the workplace.

LaTonya’s clients often describe her as approachable, non-judgmental, inspiring, creative, unique, and insightful. You may experience her the same way as you read through Leading Below the Surface.

Books and Resources Mentioned in this Episode

Fearless Organization  by Amy Edmondson

The Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday

Think again by Adam Grant

Helping Ukraine

Click here to find NGOs and other organizations that help

Offer your space to host refugees on Airbnb

Rent an apartment in Ukraine through Airbnb

Additional resources

CultureBrained® Community – a one-of-a-kind virtual community for Heads of Culture, founders, and leaders who want to up their culture game.

The Culture Playbook Guide

Discover Your Personal Values

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