Working in the investment lane, a lane that I was not quite sure was very ethical was originally a large undertaking for me because I had always worked in opposition to anything finance related, but working in this lane showed me that not everything was as simple as I thought. I think that for the most part, I did not know that leaders in equity could also work within a system like finance, but now I understand that by working in niche impact investment firms is also something that a person can do. By putting on different hats, my boss is able to talk to investors from companies that have gained wealth by working for the gigantic companies that oversee the world’s wealth and have them invest in projects such as things that benefit low-income communities.
In this way, my boss set the ground work of understanding how to be robin hood in a sense because you have to know how to fit into different groups. He was displaying situational leadership, being able to change up his cadence and mannerisms to interact with different key players about really important topics. He participated in meetings with individuals from different political affiliations, and brought all the knowledge back to blend into something that he could feasibly work with. All at the same time iterating his process to his employees, and changing his style to meet the demands of working with folks far below his experience level. This flexibility is an important feature of what it takes to be successful as a Black leader in any capacity because it is most likely that you will be outnumbered and feel culturally out of place. Flexibility can take root by way of code switching, being able to leverage intercultural knowledge to relate to concerns of key players, and listening.
A part of situational leadership is adapting which my boss did by looking at what was missing and pulling in people to bring their knowledge in. My background is working with communities, and he wanted community input and figuring out ways to get it, and so bringing me on also displayed that feature of leadership.