Belonging is a fundamental human need intricately woven into the fabric of our workplaces and social structures. Peter Drucker, a pioneer of modern management, believed that leaders should nurture their knowledge workers as volunteers who yearn to make a meaningful contribution.

This article explores the essence of belonging, the pivotal role of organisational culture, and the application of attachment theory in fostering a sense of connection.

The Role of Organizational Culture

The role of organisational culture is multifaceted and profoundly affects every aspect of a business, from employee engagement to brand reputation. Organisational culture encompasses the shared values, beliefs, and norms that influence the behaviour of individuals within an organisation. The social glue binds members of the organisation together and can be a powerful force for enhancing performance or, conversely, a barrier to change and growth. A robust organisational culture provides a clear, unspoken understanding of ‘how things are done here’, reducing the reliance on formal policies. This contrasts with a weak culture, where consistency leads to clarity and potential liabilities. Cultivating a solid culture requires conscious effort and nurturing by leadership.

Attachment Theory at Work

Attachment theory, as developed by John Bowlby and expanded by Mary Ainsworth, offers insights into workplace dynamics. Much like a secure base in attachment theory, a secure organisational environment provides comfort and fosters the courage to explore and innovate. Leaders can create this secure base by being accessible and supportive. Belonging also has a deeply personal aspect, as illustrated by experiences of moving to a new country. The initial struggle to fit in, overcome barriers like language and prejudice, and finally finding one’s place, underscores the intrinsic value of being part of a community. Such narratives highlight the universality of the need to belong and the resilience required to establish it.

Creating a workplace where employees feel they belong starts with instilling a sense of purpose. When work is tied to a more significant cause, it transcends being a mere job to become a source of joy. Recognising accomplishments through public acknowledgement or private commendation validates the effort and builds a community of shared successes. As we look ahead, we must consider who will shape the cultural narratives of the future. The vibrant contributions of diverse voices will be critical in defining organisational and societal culture. Ultimately, a sense of belonging is not just about being included but about being part of something larger than oneself. This concept will continue to be pivotal in the years to come.

Author(s)

  • Sunita Sehmi

    Organisational Dev I Exec Leadership Coach I Author I Mentor I

    Walk The Talk

    Org Dev Consultant I Exec Leadership Performance Coach I DEI Warrior I Author I Mentor I Work smarter I Live better I Think deeper. With over three decades of expertise in multicultural environments, Sunita brings a unique blend of Indian, British, and Swiss heritage to her consultancy, fostering a deep understanding of organisational contexts and her clients. Sunita‚Äôs insights and expertise are tailored to elevate your leadership.