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.
Graphic from Greater Des Moines Partnership
The Greater Des Moines Partnership offered the 2nd Annual Executive Forum on Diversity & Inclusion today. The goal of the event was to facilitate a dialogue on diversity and inclusion-related issues and initiatives in the workplace and community.
The Wallace Centers of Iowa attended because we believe diversity and inclusion can be addressed through thoughtfully applying civility practices in workplace leadership development efforts. We wanted to learn more from leading companies about their approach to inclusion.
Excellent planning led to Sandy Harris, who is Vice President of Corporate Diversity Strategy & Internal Operations at Sodexo, being selected as the keynote speaker. Her company is #2 ranked-company on the DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity in 2014.
Some key learnings from her speech were captured in tweets from attendees who used #DSMDIForum. Here are a few:
- Organizations with gender balanced leadership teams outperform teams without gender balance.
- Sodexo took a Top down, Middle out, and Bottom up approach to their diversity initiatives.
- Emerging economies are outpacing in STEM degrees compared to developed countries.
After the keynote address, the participants had a chance to select from three breakout sessions:
- Global Talent Development with a speaker from DuPont Pioneer
- Being in Iowa with a speaker from Iowa Public Radio
- OpportUNITY: Creating Prosperity for All with a panel from a variety of organizations and businesses.
Attending the session on global talent development, we learned that one approach to addressing diversity and inclusion is to utilize the company wide engagement survey that is done annually. The key to this approach is to follow-up with action planning at the team level and hold managers accountable for those discussions.
DuPont believes inclusion and diversity is essential to their ability to innovate. They see the power of sharing new and different beliefs and promoting a culture of respect. Our take away was that that diversity is not a nice to have, but a need to have strategy.
It reminded us of a quote from the man who founded Pioneer before the company became part of DuPont.
The only drawback to the meeting today was that we wish we could have attended the other sessions.
If you attended a session please share your thoughts below or send us a connection to your own blog or post.