FUTURE TALENT May - July 2021 - Page 25

F ans of the film Aladdin and the King of Thieves will surely know these song lyrics : “ Are you in or out ? Gotta know without a doubt . I ’ m the one you need for a dirty deed . I ’ m the best ; success is guaranteed .”
But being ‘ in or out ’ is not what inclusion in the workplace is about . With a truly inclusive culture , there is no ‘ in ’ and there is no ‘ out ’. Yet , all too often , we approach inclusion as an act of bringing individuals ‘ in ’, providing equal opportunities and resources for people who might otherwise not get them . We appear to have forgotten why or how they were ever ‘ out ’ in the first place , and that each and every one of us is a human being who deserves and has the right to be treated with dignity , defined by Dr Donna Hicks as “ our inherent value and worth ”.
When we recognise inclusion as one of the critical elements of dignity , we start to understand that inclusion is not about being in or out . Dignity is something we are all born with — it ’ s a hallmark of shared humanity which we are all part of . When we make others feel that they belong , at all levels of any relationship , whether family , community , workplace or nation , we are honouring and acknowledging their dignity as a human being . There is no hierarchy in a truly inclusive climate ; although we may differ in status , we are all equal in dignity . And with it comes an acceptance of identity , a recognition of who we are , an acknowledgement of what we each bring , and a sense of safety and fairness that empowers and inspires people to be the best that they can be .
What does this mean for leaders when it comes to creating and maintaining an inclusive workplace , where people feel valued , respected and a sense of belonging ? Where it ’ s not about being ‘ in ’ or ‘ out ’, but just simply , ‘ being ’; where you can become what you are truly capable of .
In a very practical sense , it means that , as leaders , each and every one of us needs to learn how to become much more dignity conscious . We must be vigilant and alert to the dignity of ourselves and those around us . We may come into this world with dignity , but not all of us know how to act in accordance with it . Leaders need to be equipped to be able to honour the deep connection to our sense of inherent value and worth , and to recognise the harm and pain we inflict when we violate the dignity of ourselves and others .
There are many high-profile cases we can point to where dignity violations have led to exclusion and even tragic loss of life . This is the sheer power of dignity . However , we don ’ t see it high up on the leadership agenda , if at all . Why is that ? How can we create a workplace where wellbeing and human connections thrive and flourish if there is no dignity ?
Leaders not only need to understand the impact of a culture of dignity on inclusion , but they also need to embody it themselves . They need to lead their own lives with dignity . In a very real sense , as leaders we should realise that it is a genuine honour to be a guardian of dignity . To help our teams develop their capacity to connect with one another in a way that promotes mutual growth and wellbeing not only brings out the best in our people but it strengthens us too . Their vulnerability is our vulnerability — we are all at risk of being wounded and left ‘ out ’.
This is not just tough work ; it is essential work . Key questions leaders can ask themselves include : what do I need to do to show people that I care about them ? How do I know whether I am treating people with dignity ? Do I walk the talk and honour my own sense of value and self-worth ?
The lyrics above — sung by the main antagonist , Sa ’ Luk — firmly place being ‘ in ’ the Forty Thieves as a guarantee of success and where power lies . But when we create inclusion by leading with dignity , there is no ‘ out ’. With a culture of dignity comes empathy , deep-rooted trust and accountability that inspires and unlocks growth , innovation and wellbeing . The end result ? We ’ re all in — and we all win .
Tracey Groves is CEO and founder of Intelligent Ethics .

TALKING HEADS

T

TRACEY GROVES

ARE YOU IN OR OUT ?

Viewing inclusion from a standpoint of dignity to make sure everyone ’ s ‘ in ’.

F ans of the film Aladdin and the King of Thieves will surely know these song lyrics : “ Are you in or out ? Gotta know without a doubt . I ’ m the one you need for a dirty deed . I ’ m the best ; success is guaranteed .”

But being ‘ in or out ’ is not what inclusion in the workplace is about . With a truly inclusive culture , there is no ‘ in ’ and there is no ‘ out ’. Yet , all too often , we approach inclusion as an act of bringing individuals ‘ in ’, providing equal opportunities and resources for people who might otherwise not get them . We appear to have forgotten why or how they were ever ‘ out ’ in the first place , and that each and every one of us is a human being who deserves and has the right to be treated with dignity , defined by Dr Donna Hicks as “ our inherent value and worth ”.

When we recognise inclusion as one of the critical elements of dignity , we start to understand that inclusion is not about being in or out . Dignity is something we are all born with — it ’ s a hallmark of shared humanity which we are all part of . When we make others feel that they belong , at all levels of any relationship , whether family , community , workplace or nation , we are honouring and acknowledging their dignity as a human being . There is no hierarchy in a truly inclusive climate ; although we may differ in status , we are all equal in dignity . And with it comes an acceptance of identity , a recognition of who we are , an acknowledgement of what we each bring , and a sense of safety and fairness that empowers and inspires people to be the best that they can be .

Dignity consciousness

What does this mean for leaders when it comes to creating and maintaining an inclusive workplace , where people feel valued , respected and a sense of belonging ? Where it ’ s not about being ‘ in ’ or ‘ out ’, but just simply , ‘ being ’; where you can become what you are truly capable of .

In a very practical sense , it means that , as leaders , each and every one of us needs to learn how to become much more dignity conscious . We must be vigilant and alert to the dignity of ourselves and those around us . We may come into this world with dignity , but not all of us know how to act in accordance with it . Leaders need to be equipped to be able to honour the deep connection to our sense of inherent value and worth , and to recognise the harm and pain we inflict when we violate the dignity of ourselves and others .

There are many high-profile cases we can point to where dignity violations have led to exclusion and even tragic loss of life . This is the sheer power of dignity . However , we don ’ t see it high up on the leadership agenda , if at all . Why is that ? How can we create a workplace where wellbeing and human connections thrive and flourish if there is no dignity ?

When we create inclusion by leading with dignity , there is no ‘ out ’

Leaders not only need to understand the impact of a culture of dignity on inclusion , but they also need to embody it themselves . They need to lead their own lives with dignity . In a very real sense , as leaders we should realise that it is a genuine honour to be a guardian of dignity . To help our teams develop their capacity to connect with one another in a way that promotes mutual growth and wellbeing not only brings out the best in our people but it strengthens us too . Their vulnerability is our vulnerability — we are all at risk of being wounded and left ‘ out ’.

This is not just tough work ; it is essential work . Key questions leaders can ask themselves include : what do I need to do to show people that I care about them ? How do I know whether I am treating people with dignity ? Do I walk the talk and honour my own sense of value and self-worth ?

Being in or out

As leaders we should realise that it is a genuine honour to be a guardian of dignity

The lyrics above — sung by the main antagonist , Sa ’ Luk — firmly place being ‘ in ’ the Forty Thieves as a guarantee of success and where power lies . But when we create inclusion by leading with dignity , there is no ‘ out ’. With a culture of dignity comes empathy , deep-rooted trust and accountability that inspires and unlocks growth , innovation and wellbeing . The end result ? We ’ re all in — and we all win .

Tracey Groves is CEO and founder of Intelligent Ethics .