A basic need of people everywhere is to feel they belong. A sense of belonging is essential to emotional well-being, and it’s also an intrinsic motivator, activating people to become more involved and inspired. In short, it’s an essential component of any successful team and organization.
In today’s climate, where people are dispersed geographically and often divided over political and cultural issues, it’s harder than ever to create that sense of belonging. But challenging as it is, it remains one of the most essential things a leader can do to ensure their team’s well-being and effectiveness. Here are some steps you can take:
Create a culture of inclusion. Exclusion often happens unconsciously and unintentionally. To combat it, you need to be purposeful about cultivating and maintaining a culture that equitably supports people from all backgrounds and walks of life in achieving their potential and ensures they are accepted and valued. An inclusive culture views differences as strengths.
Create a culture of respectful connection. In a connected culture, people are bound by strong ties; they support and trust one another. People inspire one another to give their best effort. Without sacrificing individuality, they build strong group norms that align them with the organization’s mission and goals, and they keep one another engaged and involved.
Create a culture of contribution. When people feel that they are making a contribution, that their work matters, that their talents and strengths are valued and their efforts make a meaningful difference, they develop an awareness that they’re working for something bigger than a paycheck—and their work will reflect that awareness.
Create a culture of safety. The best way to make people feel they belong is by creating an environment where they know they are safe to be who they are and express themselves without negative consequences. People can relax and let their true selves shine through. They know they can speak up and be heard—and even get it wrong sometimes. People can’t possibly feel they belong somewhere they don’t feel safe.
Create a culture of recognition. When you express recognition and appreciation, you foster a sense of belonging. You communicate to people that they matter—and when people know they matter, they feel empowered and able to excel.
Creating and maintaining a culture where people feel they belong is never going to be easy. It requires that every level of the organization view their actions through a diversity lens to make sure they’re creating opportunities for everyone to contribute equitably, and making sure that leadership knows how to motivate and inspire. But the results are powerful. When people know they matter and their contributions are making an impact, there’s no limit to what they can accomplish.
Lead from within: The best leaders take the time to understand the importance of creating an environment where people feel they belong.
#1 N A T I O N A L B E S T S E L L E R
The Leadership Gap
What Gets Between You and Your Greatness
After decades of coaching powerful executives around the world, Lolly Daskal has observed that leaders rise to their positions relying on a specific set of values and traits. But in time, every executive reaches a point when their performance suffers and failure persists. Very few understand why or how to prevent it.
Additional Reading you might enjoy:
- 12 Successful Leadership Principles That Never Grow Old
- A Leadership Manifesto: A Guide To Greatness
- How to Succeed as A New Leader
- 12 of The Most Common Lies Leaders Tell Themselves
- 4 Proven Reasons Why Intuitive Leaders Make Great Leaders
- The One Quality Every Leader Needs To Succeed
- The Deception Trap of Leadership
Photo Credit: iStockPhotos
Of Lolly’s many awards and accolades, Lolly was designated a Top-50 Leadership and Management Expert by Inc. magazine. Huffington Post honored Lolly with the title of The Most Inspiring Woman in the World. Her writing has appeared in HBR, Inc.com, Fast Company (Ask The Expert), Huffington Post, and Psychology Today, and others. Her newest book, The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness has become a national bestseller.