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Authentic leadership is an approach to leading that emphasizes building the leader's legitimacy through honest relationships with those they lead which value their input and are built on an ethical foundation. Generally, authentic leaders are positive people with truthful self-concepts who promote openness.


Contextual Understanding is the ability to grasp, comprehend and appreciate the circumstances, conditions, factors, background and state of affairs for one’s self, situation, team, department or organization.

The graphic below represents a holistic view of the key forces affecting the context in which an individual works and the 5 micro forces (5 P's) operating within each.  The dynamic of the interrelationship between each of the forces is made even more complex by the ripples up and down the continuum that is created by each of the P's.

2016 11 14 Snip It Forces that Shape Context


Diversity is the presence of a varied array people and thought. This array along dimensions such as race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, age, physical abilities, socio-economics, beliefs or ideologies.


The growing list of diversity characteristics are often put into two categories - the diversity we easily see and the diversity that takes time to know.  Our work at Options Unlimited and Kaleidoscope embrace this broader definition of diversity.  We created the following "iceberg" graphic to represent the "seen and unseen" sides of diversity.
2016 10 29 Kaleidoscope Iceberg with Words Snip It


An effective leader is a person who is successful in producing desired or intended results. They create an inspiring vision of the future and provide positive motivation that engages employees and partners in that vision.

Two critical traits of an effective leader are self-awareness and contextual understanding.   Without self-awareness and contextual understanding, other leadership characteristics, traits and attributes are less effective.

Other skills, traits and characteristics of effective leaders include:

  • Trusted Leader
  • Strong Communicator
  • Creative
  • Honest
  • Results Oriented
  • Ability to Vision
  • Communicates Expectations
  • Strategic
  • Confident
  • Seeks Counsel
  • Resilient
  • Optimistically Realistic
  • Tough, Yet Fair
  • Has Humanity
  • Challenges People to Think
  • Accountable
  • Customer Focused
  • Listens
  • Sound Decision Making Process
  • Delegates
  • Leads by Example
  • Intuitive
  • Dealers with Conflict
  • Authentic
  • Courageous
  • Graceful Under Pressure
  • Aware
  • Asks Great Questions
  • Inspirational
  • Appropriately Adaptable
  • Provides Continuous Feedback
  • Has Integrity
  • Continuous Learner
  • Projects Positive Attitude
  • Empathetic
  • Gives Credit Where Due
  • Persistent
  • Measures and Rewards Performance
  • Decisive
  • Enjoys Responsibility
  • Invests in Relationships
  • Great Teacher
  • Problem Solver
  • Team Builder
  • Genuine
  • …and more


Embraced Diversity is more than a description of variety. And it more than a coincidence. Embraced Diversity includes acceptance, respect and intention to leverage the richness that comes from an array of people and thought. Organizations and groups that embrace diversity create safe, positive, nurturing environments. They actively foster understanding versus simple tolerance to embrace, leverage and celebrate the rich dimensions that diversity provides.


It is the ability to understand and manage your own emotions, and those of the people around you. People with a high degree of emotional intelligence know what they're feeling, what their emotions mean, and how these emotions can affect other people. (Source:


Having emotional intelligence is essential for success as a leader. Per Dr. Travis Bradberry, "emotional intelligence is something in each of us that is a bit intangible.  It affects how we manage behavior, navigate social complexities, and make personal decisions that achieve positive results."  Dr. Bradberry is the author of the book "Emotional Intelligence 2.0" which offers a model of skills and list of 9 habits of emotionally intelligent people.  You can follow him at

2016 11 14 Model of Emotional Intelligence

2016 11 14 List of 9 Habits of EI People


A kaleidoscope is a collection of mirrors and pieces of colored glass or paper, whose reflections or presentation produces an endless variety of constantly changing patterns and sequences.


The Kaleidoscope Leadership Institute refers to our national organization dedicated to helping woman of color know, understand, honor and leverage their strengths and uniqueness as part of the kaleidoscope of diversity needed for their success and the success of their organizations.


The Kaleidoscope Institute Forum is our multi-day face-to-face event for women of color who aspire to understand and hone their leadership skills. Our focus is on self awareness and contextual understanding as the foundation to be a successful leader.


A leader is a person who creates an inspiring vision of the future and motivates and inspires people to engage with that vision.


A group of people who have a common purpose.


The Kaleidoscope Posse Programs are inspired by the model from the Posse Foundation.   For us, Posse is a small diverse group of women who support each other and act as catalysts leveraging their collective diversity to help drive positive change related to a common purpose in order to drive excellence for them and their organizations


Self-awareness is the conscious understanding of one's own personality and the perceptions others have of you.  It includes the conscious knowledge of one's character, feelings, motives, and desires.

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