This is how many of us thoughtfully end an e-mail or call these days. Masks and social distancing are both critically good.
But when it comes to safety, we’re got equally serious work ahead for our teams and in our communities.
Not to devalue the mask! It’s an awesome example of our pro-social, caring and conscientious behavior to universally care for everyone around us. My mask helps protect your physical, emotional, intellectual, spiritual and economic well-being. And your mask does the same for me.
But now let’s get examine the impact of our words and actions in social situations – from school, to church, Facebook, political dialogue, team meetings or with your colleagues, regardless of how long you’ve know them.
I’m talking about Inclusion Safety because the physical, emotional, intellectual, spiritual and economic consequences of ignoring this remains as contagious and deadly as any pandemic.
Leaving us ill and unable to function at full capacity.
Think about this. When was the last time one of these things happened to you?
- You were excluded in a social setting.
- You were afraid to ask a question.
- You stayed silent when you knew the answer.
- You had someone steal credit for what you did.
- You were ignored or dismissed in a conversation.
- You were rudely interrupted.
- You were responded to dismissively.
- You felt the target of a negative stereotype.
- You faced retaliation for challenging the status quo.
- You were publicly shamed, mocked or made fun of.
- You were punished for an honest mistake.
- Your contribution was minimized as insignificant or irrelevant.
- You were treated as less than or inferior for being different.
*List adapted from LeaderFactor, Inclusion Safety
Or think of it this way.
If a large survey were to be conducted, what percentage of people might say they have experienced or witnessed these behaviors in the last 24-hours?
Right. We have work to do.
Ample research points to the consequences of social exclusion. It hurts – literally! Emotional and physical pain active similar regions in the brain. So just like physical pain, social pain can derail us for days, or longer. And when we feel excluded, not welcomed, not appreciated and not valued, you and I will withhold our performance, engagement, problem solving and solutions.
Because the risk is not worth the reward.
Here’s more about what research says, taken from a Harvard longitudinal study on a wide variety of organizations and reported by the LeaderFactor:
I’ve been this person above. I hope I didn’t take it out on customers or staff, but I probably took it out on my colleagues in some form or another and I know my family suffered.
It’s called defensive performance. And it’s EXACTLY what we don’t need now. We need hand, head and hearts all together for collaborative solutions.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out inclusive behavior.
But it does takes intention, emotional self-awareness and empathy. It takes a calling to serve as a first among equals, which means power-with, not power-over.
Here’s a couple of thoughts to add to your practice of Inclusion Safety (and if it isn’t a practice that you name and claim, then start today), taken from Timothy Clark and the 4 Stages of Psychological Safety.
- Teach inclusion as a human right – it’s not earned, but rather inherently owed.
- We are hyper-social creatures who need one another.
- Worth always comes before worthiness. We are all worthy of inclusion without having to prove anything.
- Ask twice as much as you tell.
To me the bottom line looks like this:
If you want to create pain and poor performance, keep up exclusionary behavior. You may have short-term reward, but there will always be long-term consequences. Or, embrace inclusion, emotional self-awareness and trust.
One path leads to conquer and control, the other leads to collaboration and fulfillment.
And we make a choice with every action.
What are you choosing today?