#ThePowerOfWords: The Danger of Being Inclusive!
By Prachi Rastogi, Diversity & Inclusion Leader, APAC, IBM
Amongst the various benefits of increased D&I awareness, there is a danger too. And that is D&I becoming a great lip service with organizations, leaders, and employees. All the knowledge and training sessions that help us get equipped lead us to believe that the first thing we need to do is to be inclusive of the other. A lot of the leaders understand the inclusion concept in the head and start talking in various forums. When you work closely with the same leaders, reality hits us. Their working style and their great talks often do not match. It happens because the first step is to be inclusive of ourselves. If that is missed, there is no possibility of taking the next step.
Being self-inclusive is to watch your actions, thoughts, and feelings closely and noticing how conscious and unconscious bias plays in our daily lives. Watching without any judgements helps even more. It becomes an interesting process to watch various emotions like anger, joy, envy along with thoughts which are not always constructive. Watching these ever-changing thoughts leads us to see the one that never changes. The awareness that stays constant. It simply watches the moving actions, thoughts, and feelings. Once we are aware of the awareness that never changes, our actions change deeply. This time the change is not superficial. The style of our interaction, workings, communications everything transforms once we can watch ourselves. It has many more benefits too and inclusive behaviour is certainly one of them.
Another important step to take for self-inclusion is to take care of ourselves physically and mentally. The three pillars for that are sleeping right, eating right, and moving enough. It is a personal decision of what works for you but a balance of these three pillars make us fall in love with our lifestyle. It helps us be stress-free. It helps us be joyous. Joy and being stress-free are important jewels to have because no one has ever met a stressed leader highly inclusive and compassionate.
Creative, innovative, and wiser client solutions can be designed by teams which are diverse and inclusive. Inclusivity is even more important than diversity to start with. Working in a diverse team which is not inclusive is quite detrimental to productivity. So, start with yourself. Irrespective of your role, level, and band in the company you can be an ally. You can be an ally outside of work too. Begin by self-awareness, begin by self-care, attend inclusion workshops and then combine it with real actions outside.
If more allies come OUT; it will become easier for diverse people to come out and feel included.
About the Author: Prachi’s current role involves ensuring gender balance at executive roles, inclusion of LGBT+ community and an accessible environment for people with disabilities. She’s responsible to create a climate that fosters respect for differences, stimulates innovation, encourages collaboration, and allows employees to work productively in a culturally diverse environment.
Apart from her day job she facilitates Mindfulness sessions in the corporate world and educational institutes. She believes that collaboration amongst humans and increased awareness is what will help us survive and succeed in the coming times.
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