October 23, 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.


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)?

The pull of the tribe

Networking groupHave you noticed…

Spend any time at all around a group of people, especially a large group of people or a big organisation, with at least some cohesion, genuine purpose, and shared values—in other words, a “tribe”—and the pull to associate with it is almost tangible, a visceral effect.

Depending on the specifics, the direction could be the opposite, I suppose, with an urge not to belong to that tribe, but another one instead.

Either way…

It’s a deep-seated, powerful part of human nature… the need to belong. The consequences pervade our organisations and our lives.

Have you noticed when you are pulled in this way?

Or when the pull of the tribe is influencing a situation?


Are you self-sufficient enough to stand apart when you need to? Or at least to make a conscious choice about it?