Explorations in Black Leadership

Co-Directed by Phyllis Leffler & Julian Bond

Adapting to audiences

BOND: Do you have a different leadership style when you deal with groups that are all black, mixed race, or all white? Are you different with each of these groups?

WILLIAMS: Well, I like to think not. I like to think that I treat everybody equally in terms of how I interact with them. I believe that you should try to find the good in people and that you should try to empower them and give them the opportunity to pursue their goals and ambitions and so I like to think that my style is the same. I like to believe that everybody should be treated equally.

BOND: At the same time, if I'm speaking to all - black group, I find my cadences shift, my rhythm is different. If I'm speaking to an all - white group or a majority white group, I'm a little different. Does that happen to you?

WILLIAMS: I think all people of our generation grew up in an America, there's some of that. Sure. I think that's right. But I think as more of just adapting to your audience.

BOND: Indeed.

WILLIAMS: I mean, if I speak to a group of leaders in Latin America, I have a different style of speaking in a way than I would if I spoke to a group of leaders in Asia, so I think you adapt to your audience.