Study after study shows that when organisations make the centre of their culture, people feel more included, leading to increased motivation and productivity. More and more companies want to implement an inclusive leadership mindset, but they sometimes need the practice or the comfort of what to say, when and how. Most leaders support diversity for strategic reasons or because diverse teams are more innovative, creative, and successful.
It is also up to these leaders to acknowledge that their beliefs and opinions can and should be challenged to allow diverse outlooks. Because in this way, they add to authorising and inspiring employees, cultivating inclusion, and making them better sponsors for others.
There are organisations where I coach and consult, and the employees feel insignificant, interchangeable, and uninteresting. They think that their presence could be more meaningful.
I have seen that this creates feelings of rejection, and employees will feel even more denigrated. Inclusion is, therefore, essential because it allows everyone to feel important.
The first question is: where do I fit in in any group? Do I want to be “in” or “out”?
This is where inclusion responds to the requirements to feel important, have a place, and feel accepted. Inclusion responds to our deep-rooted fear of being ignored or abandoned.
The leader allows each person to feel important through inclusion, thus minimising the fear of being ignored.
Each of us can remember a moment when we felt we were omitted. It is not a feeling one can forget. Yet, the unique power of inclusion and the detrimental effects of exclusion play out every day in our society.
I remain curious about how some organisations, communities, and families connect with people. How can they provide unreserved approval, instinctively knowing what is happening to people? How do they have a sense that another may be struggling? And know that only some of us are uncomfortable sharing our natural fears, especially at the risk of feeling judged?
The significance of inclusion has become increasingly acute as the world deals with massive demographic, cultural, environmental, and technological transformations. Moreover, the speed at which organisations change is overwhelming and challenging for some of us. The only thing we can be certain of today is that change is a sure thing. Our inability to adapt to ever-changing contexts and diverse people will disappoint and perhaps even ruin a career.
There is a need for a new workforce to deal with this constant change— and this is a workforce can understand people wherever they are from and their needs, particularly people in the global context. Never before has inclusion been so essential for the sustainability of an organisation.
Over the last ten years, inclusion has become central to our professional and personal communities.
Today, in the age of the post Coronavirus and forced remote working, and tomorrow, in all remote teamwork, inclusion is a coaching tool that can be used regularly. This investment of time allows everyone to feel included and considered and promotes engagement.