I recently completed the MasterClass “Building Inclusive Teams” with the goal of expanding my knowledge around inclusivity. What resulted was greater self-awareness and a strengthened desire to be more curious in all I do. Here are my three takeaways:
- Self-awareness. Our minds generate tens of thousands of unconscious assumptions each day to keep us focused on current tasks at hand. These underlying unconscious assumptions can prevent us from seeing the whole picture, negatively impacting both our work and team relationships. Underlying assumptions are often revealed through moments of surprise. For example, “I’m surprised that Joe knows about that.” The surprise is an opportunity ask why we were surprised and to investigate our underlying assumptions.
- Storytelling. Every person with whom we interact took a different path to this exact point in time. The small details of our lives such as what kind of school lunches we had, where we grew up, how we decided to live where we live, is the full color of the person we are. We bring this full color to our work lives. Our stories inform the work we do separately and together as a team. When we know even a small part of our colleagues’ life story, we can find connections and differences which make the team, project, and relationships richer.
- Be Curious. Approaching each interaction, meeting, or project with curiosity can be transformative. Being curious about ourselves (self-awareness) and our colleagues (their stories) builds trust and a sense of belonging. When people feel like they belong, they contribute more in both quantity and quality. Remember what it felt like in school when you were the odd man out and felt like you didn’t belong? Embracing curiosity creates an environment where we each feel valued and included, resulting in a more vibrant team dynamic.
I appreciate Highlands’ investment in MasterClass courses for our employees, reinforcing one of our core values, continuous learning.