Stage 1: Inclusion Safety
Do I Feel Included?
What is Inclusion Safety?
Inclusion safety satisfies the basic human need to connect and belong. Whether at work, school, home, or in other social settings, everyone wants to be accepted. In fact, the need to be accepted precedes the need to be heard.
WHEN YOU HAVE IT
When others invite us into their society, we develop a sense of shared identity and a conviction that we matter. Inclusion safety allows us to gain membership within a social unit and interact with its members without fear of rejection, embarrassment, or punishment, boosting confidence, resilience, and independence.
WHEN YOU DON'T
What if you’re deprived of that basic acceptance and validation as a human being? In short, it’s debilitating. It activates the pain centers of the brain. Granting inclusion safety to another person is a moral imperative. Indeed, only the threat of harm can excuse us from this responsibility.
Inclusion Safety at a Glance
Definition of Respect
Definition of Permission
Respect for the individual's humanity.
Permission for the individual to enter your personal society.
Inclusion in exchange for human status and the absence of harm.
Inclusion Safety is a Human Right
Inclusion safety is not earned but owed. Every human has title to it as a nonnegotiable right. We hunger for and deserve dignity and esteem from each other. If there’s no threat of harm, we should give it without a value judgement.
As the basic glue of human society, inclusion safety offers the comforting assurance that you matter. If you’re a leader and want your people to perform, you must internalize the universal truth that people want, need, and deserve validation.
Inclusion safety requires that we condemn negative bias, arbitrary distinction, or destructive prejudice that refuses to acknowledge our equal worth and the obligation of equal treatment.
Inclusion Safety Unlocks
the Power of Diversity
Diversity is a matter of makeup and composition, whereas inclusion is a matter of belief and behavior. Diversity produces nothing and blesses no one unless its power can be unleashed. How does that happen? It happens through inclusion.
Inclusion activates and releases the power of diversity. Unfortunately, many organizations that have made great strides to create a more diverse employee population congratulate themselves, but they are no more inclusive than they were before. What can they do? They need psychological safety.
Eliminate Junk Theories of Superiority
Why do humans exclude each other? Insecurity, arrogance, greed, fear? Yes, but here’s another reason: Because that’s what we’ve been taught. People usually believe what they’re taught. It’s called acquired socialization.
Here’s a second question: How do humans justify excluding each other? What criteria do we use? Race, age, gender, religion, culture, socio-economic status, political ideology, tribe, ancestry, geography . . . The list is very long. Are these legitimate factors? No, but we use them anyway to create junk theories of superiority. Nothing new.
When we use junk theories to create and perpetuate divisions and rationalize exclusionary behavior, we apply a worthiness test rather than a worth test to each other. If we turn that around and apply a worth test instead of a worthiness test, we have the stunning opportunity to create a deeply inclusive culture.
Do You Practice Inclusion?
It’s time to take a step back and look at your own life. Ask yourself these questions and evaluate how you are doing in putting Inclusion Safety into practice.
Do you treat people that you consider of lower status differently than those of higher status? If so, why?
How do you acknowledge and show sensitivity and appreciation for the cultural differences that exist on your team?
Do you feel superior to other people? If so, why?
Is the moral principle of inclusion a convenient or inconvenient truth for you?
What conscious bias do you have?
Where do you exercise soft forms of exclusion to maintain barriers?
What individual or group are you having a hard time including even if they are doing you no real harm? Why?