Rethinking Power Structures in Organizations – Non Profit News

Dax-Devlon Ross: “People have recognized now that most of the ways organizations have tried to resolve conflict and crisis has been to find black people to be the leaders. And what they find again and again is that black people who become these leaders are very vulnerable. They themselves are often pulled in multiple directions, because not only do they have to be the leader of the organization, the face of it, but they must then respond to all the crises within it. And it’s not a fair place to put them. And so knowing that this kind of superficial transition of power to another body is not the solution; we need to dig deeper. It’s the systems. These are the operating principles.

We are so imprinted and have all been socialized to believe that the only way to get anything done is through the patterns we have been imprinted in i.e. there is someone at the top who makes all the decisions. And what organizations are finding – and what I think young people are asking for, [what] leaders, people of color are asking—[is that] people say: we want something different.

Our received ideas about how hierarchy should be the guiding principle of all organizational structures are not necessarily true. There may be other ways to be together and discover that organizations can be successful. But we have to be prepared to test this a bit. It’s an opportunity, and some people will feel it as a threat. And naturally, whenever power is challenged, people feel threatened by it. But I would see it as a way for an industry like ours to take the lead. It is a call to leadership.