Components of Inclusion

Traditionally, many organizations think of the term inclusion as part of their diversity efforts. I want to share what Federick Miller and Judith Katz, Ed.D — who did a joint presentation at an Organizational Development Network Conference a few years back —  consider inclusion to be. They see inclusion as an inclusive value system that needs to become part of the organizational culture.

As a leader you are responsible for helping people feel included, to feel part of the “we” that forms the organization. Inclusion has three main components:

1. Belonging

Individuals need to feel a sense of belonging. They want to feel part of the organization. This is accomplished in part by feeling they have a voice. Their opinions count. They are part of the whole, not just an isolated piece. Their ideas and collaboration is needed and appreciated.

2. Knowing

People want to feel respected, valued, and seen for who they are as individuals. As a leader you need to make the effort to get to know your people, to understand them as individuals, to know what they value and the ways in which they work best. People keep growing and developing. You can’t evaluate them if you don’t keep a running conversation with them that helps you know their developing self.

3. Supporting

People want to have a level of supportive energy and commitment from their leaders, colleagues, and others so that individually and collectively they can do their best work. They need from you supportive energy instead of judgement. They need to see you join them in order to do their best work. They need to know that when they come up with innovative ideas, you will support them instead of only pocking holes and dismissing their efforts.

Remember. . .

As a leader you need to help develop a culture of inclusion in your organization. Work to eliminates barriers and to empower people, valuing their minds, hearts, and hands.

Accept, value, and celebrate all people with their uniqueness and their ideas, without judging them and making them feel wrong. Make them feel essential to the success of the organization.

This cultural shift will create a higher performing organizations where collaboration, motivation and morale will thrive.