To Diversity, Equity and Inclusion we are increasing adding Belongingness as a central consideration in creating healthy workspaces and organization. Here authors Twiana Armstrong, Kimberly Layne and I discuss considerations for leaders who are working to bring belongingness to their organizations.
Kimberly Layne: https://www.kimberly-layne.com/
Twiana Armstrong: https://linkedin.com/in/twianaarmstrong
#Roaring20s #Roaring2020s #leadership #DEI #DEIB #Belongingness
The Diversity, Equity and Inclusion work has added another life element to communal efforts towards building an open, accepting and educated society. DEI and B for belonging or belongingness. Per Wikipedia belonging is a human emotional need to be an accepted member of a group – be it family friends, co-workers, or religion. Belongingness is an art and a science. Art because it is a “complex and dynamic process unique to each person.” And a science because psychologists’ research is believed to have captured and measured this innate and inherit need to belong in infants as young as two weeks old. Belongingness is not new. A sense of belonging comprises one of the concepts of the hierarchy of needs outlined by Abraham Maslow’s paper titled “A Theory of Human Motivation” submitted in 1943. As a reminder, Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is displayed as a pyramid of the 5 human needs: physiological, safety, love/belonging, esteem, and self-actualization. Leaders’ it is fundamentally important to create a belonging culture. One that is measured by workforce retention and increased productivity. Validate and encourage an accepting workspace community, one that allows employees to show up as their authentic identity, be open to new ways of working, and demonstrate a mindfulness of others. These are just a few tips. Matt, what are you sharing about belonging or belongingness?
We have instinctual rapport-building processes that allow us to build trust with one another. Many of these instinctual processes tend to drive us towards conformity.
Birds of a Feather Flock Together. Go Along to Get Along. These are just a couple of the sayings that describe this human instinct.
An organization that strives towards making people feel they belong regardless of how they present (pause) may face headwinds in rapport-building amongst team members as they will have to consciously and deliberately explore our innate rapport-building instincts.
Robert Sapolsky in his book Behave describes the part of the brain – the insular cortex—that drives our in-group and out-group responses. There are 3 main responses,
One is, “I care and think it’s great with distinctly-presenting people showing up;”
A second one is, “I care and don’t like outsiders;”
And a third response is, “I really don’t care one way or another.”
Organizations working towards building belongingness must raise awareness of these distinct responses and make accommodations for conversations that allow all employees to realize that mission of the organization is the one thing all have in common. We all have differences, and we can appreciate that these differences are our strengths in helping us achieve our common mission.
Kimberly, what are you thinking about in terms of belongingness.
Thanks Matt, yes, an organization can define its culture, and as a leader you are executing on that definition. Are you inviting your people to belong or are you asking them to fit in?
Fitting in or Belonging are two different cultures and Brene Brown states that belonging and fitting in are the opposite of each other. Why?
Belonging is allowing and inviting your employees to show up as they truly are in their complete individuality and uniqueness in gender, ethnicity, education, and style. They have embraced and honored themselves and they have chosen to show up with full authenticity and vulnerability. Not pretending to be someone they are not.
Fitting in is asking your people to show up in a certain way, to meet certain criteria to “fit in.” and therefore, meet the criteria to “belong.” By trying to fit in they will have to betray or dishonor themselves.
True belonging doesn’t ask us to change who we are (or betray ourselves) but asks us to be who we are (and embrace ourselves).
As a leader, will you choose to create a culture of true diversity, equity inclusion, and belonging or just pretend that you are through fitting in criteria?
Leave a Reply