September 25, 2017

Feeling included (or not)

Mixed group of peopleHow is it that it makes such a difference if we make sure people feel included?

I understand the explanation to be a deep-seated part of our nature—the need to belong to a group to survive—literally. In earlier times, if we became separated from the group, we would be in serious trouble. So we have powerful, unconscious—you could say “instinctive”—programming about wanting and needing to be included.

It’s surprising then how many people neglect this easy way to make a difference. Just by taking the trouble to include everyone present, we can establish useful influence, sometimes to a remarkable degree.

Conversely…

We underestimate the hurt of accidentally or deliberately excluding someone, even temporarily.

That’s often an avoidable error, if we take the trouble to avoid it.

I find it helps to think of oneself, not as a node within a group, but more as a container for the whole. That sounds a bit weird, I know. I had this realisation in an exercise once… I initially saw myself as the hub of a wheel (thinking of a wooden spoked wheel) then I realised I identified more with the rim, holding everything else together.

What about you? Are you the hub or the rim of the wheel or something else?

Irrespective of that…

What do you do to make everyone feel included (if you think that’s a good idea)?