Explorations in Black Leadership

Co-Directed by Phyllis Leffler & Julian Bond

Leadership Style: Accessible Codes

BOND: Do you have a different leadership style — and maybe this is not a good question for you — do you have a difference leadership style when you deal with groups that are all black, mixed race, or all white?

IFILL: I probably speak differently. We all have kind of our codes that we do in different settings. I don’t — but what I don’t ever — I'm never in a leadership role in that way. I speak to groups which are all black or mixed or all white and I find that with all-black groups, you can speak in a lot more code. I mean, there’re a lot of things you can say when everybody gets the joke without you having to say, “and this is what it means.” But it’s the same approach in every case which is to be as accessible as possible and to make people feel comfortable that they’re listening to someone who’s not judging them.