Whoever you are, you have probably felt different at some point in your life. Whether it came from your upbringing, your education, or the clothes you were wearing. Exclusion feels bad—so you can probably imagine how damaging it can be in the workplace. Exclusion can tear a team apart, but how do you fix the problem? Start by following these four steps.
Step #1: Understand and accept that differences exist between you and your teammates. Different experiences could bring insight that helps the team achieve its goals.
Step #2: Practice patience. It’s not always easy to make room for others whose experiences you don’t fully understand. Conflicts, disagreements, and differences are inevitable. But with patience, that doesn’t mean they need to kill the conversation.
Step #3: Acknowledge that inclusion requires vulnerability. Pride, arrogance, and self-importance are antithetical to a supportive culture of love. So leave those issues at the door and allow yourself and team members to be vulnerable.
Step #4: Recognize that inclusion requires advocacy. It’s not enough to give people of diverse backgrounds a seat at the table. You must make sure they are heard as well. Inclusion is not easy, but put in the work and you’ll see your team grow united.