10 Principles of Leadership – Latino Style


Based on the more than enthusiastic reception I received during a recent keynote to Latino leaders, I thought to augment the conversation with a blog that captures what we as Latinos bring to leadership in our own style.

Cultural humility, cultural competence and self-awareness are critical to defining leaders today.

So what do we offer?  Latino culture and subcultures have a thread that provides a strong leadership pattern– Latino Style.  Have a look.

Juana Bordas speaks to 10 principles that are based on the thread of our Latino culture.  Worth contemplating as I emphasize defining success for yourself without losing self.

Here are 10 leadership attributes we have to offer:

  1. Personalismo: The Character of a Leader. Prescribes that leaders establish personal, genuine, and caring relationships inherent in our cultura. Leader’s character is the essence of what people follow.
  2. Conciencia: Knowing Oneself, Personal Awareness. Who are you? What kind of person are you? Requires in-depth reflection, and self-examination. Conciencia is the connection the leader has to his/her core.
  3. Destino: Personal and Collective Purpose. It requires insight to know one’s destiny.  Individualistic cultures believe a person is in charge of and determines his own future. Many Latinos believe it is impossible to control chance (fatalismo), fate, or unplanned events. Destino is a dance with the currents of life.
  4. Cultura: Culturally-Based Leadership. This looks at Latino culture as bound together by a common history, heritage, spiritual tradition and language. Shared values such as respect, honor, service, and generosity. Translates into “mi casa es tu casa,” give people your time and ideas, be generous. [I am trying to be that for you, hermana.]
  5. De Colores: Latino Inclusiveness and Diversity. Inviting people to be part of the culture. Each Latino has a subgroup – PR, Cubano, etc, bringing diversity in ourselves as Latinos.
  6. Juntos: Collective Community Stewardship.  A part of the leadership spirit. Reasons to share stewardship as a leader include:
    1. shared power – compartir
    2. shared vision
    3. reciprocal power of history and culture
    4. paso a paso–the power of a step-by-step approach
  7. Adelante:  Global Vision and Immigrant spirit. International connections, 22 countries through Espanol and through a special kinship with Brazil, Portugal, Italy, and Philippines. An integrating force of the Western Hemisphere.
  8. Si se puede: Coalition and Activist Leadership. “Yes, We Can!” A principle that frames leadership as social activism.
  9. Gozar la Vida: Leadership Celebrates Life and Strengthens Bonds. Latinos balancing social inequities, a la Cesar Chavez.
  10. Fe y Esperanza: Sustained Faith and Hope; Optimism. Spirituality is a moral obligation to ensure others’ well-being and the collective good.  My father used to say, when you have faith you have it all and you never take someone’s hope if you are worth anything!

I recommend reading:  “Salsa, Soul, and Spirit: Leadership for a Multicultural Age” by Juana Bordas (Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 2007, ISBN-10: 1576754324)

Join The Discussion:

How has a Latino leadership style worked for you?

Do you incorporate some Latino elements and not others into your leadership?