No matter where you work, there are probably people that feel left out; they might even appear like they want to be on their own. There can be all kinds of reasons for their isolation. The reasons do not matter as much as the steps you can take to include them.
Why does including others matters?
The benefit of including others, even the loners, is that they have something to contribute; perhaps it’s a unique perspective to the work you are doing. Including others contributes to an organization’s overall well-being, which is why so many are investing resources in practices that promote diversity and inclusion.
5 Steps to Include Others
- Pay Attention – The first step to inclusion is to pay attention to those people that seem to be on the sidelines; those who don’t say anything at a meeting or just keep to themselves.
- Don’t try to change the person – The next step is to realize that the goal isn’t to change them in some way or to “get them” to contribute. The goal is to understand their perspective.
- Assume a mindset of curiosity – Now that you know there are people out there with perspectives different than yours, you can assume a mindset of curiosity and a willingness to risk being rejected. They might not want to share their perspective so it may take patience and time.
- Build Trust – Know how to use social and one-on-one situations effectively. In social situations it is best to invite them along without expecting anything in particular. After you have built a level of trust, you can engage them in a conversation.
- Look for signs that will allow conversations to unfold naturally – Watch for signs that a conversation could unfold. Is the other person expressing any emotion? You can simply say, You seem_______.” You fill in the blank with the emotion you are observing. After hearing what they have to say, you can keep the conversation going with comments like, “I hear you.”, “How did that go?” or “What’s next?”
If you try these tips or have additional ideas, reach out to us at @seedsofcivility
Additional resource: The Inclusion Dividend: Why Investing in Diversity and Inclusion Pays Off by Mark Kaplan and Mason Donovan.
The Seeds of Civility is a blog that is created by The Wallace Centers of Iowa. Here we plant seeds of inspiration for your daily life.