By David Tomkinson, Director, andpartnership
"The whole world is a bit strange except thee and me and I’m not so sure about thee." Robert Owen
Becky’s post prompted me to think about how inclusive I am, and naturally I think I am pretty inclusive. Who says they aren’t?! However, what I have experienced within myself over the years is the basic human frailty of judgement – that thought process that compares and measures others against some internal picture of perfection or your own perception of yourself (they may be connected).
It happens to most of us when we meet new people – are they someone I can connect with? Do I Iike them? Are they someone I can trust? Are they like me? These judgements are often made in a split second, and our behaviour adjusted to reinforce the outcome. Peter Senge references this very clearly with his ‘Ladder of Inference’ in the Fifth Discipline Fieldbook. This ladder is the natural pathway that the brain goes through thousands of time a day, to establish what we think, how we feel, and ultimately how we act. It is for these reasons that we very often get drawn to people who are like us, who have the same sense of humour, same cultural background, similar values and ethics.
As Senge says, you can’t stop going up this ladder – it has evolved for a reason; to identify enemies, protect ourselves and our loved ones and help us to find our mates. However, much of the work we do with leaders around Inclusive Leadership is slowing the ascent of the ladder down, becoming more aware of our own judgements and learning to be curious, asking questions to check out assumptions. With these skills and focus, we can ensure we are not excluding others unintentionally, and we can accept and own our own judgements and assumptions.
If you are interested in helping your leaders to slow down their judgements, to enable greater inclusion, get in touch firstname.lastname@example.org