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Wednesday, 2 December, 2020

Hey Maverick – Where Do You Belong?

Hey Maverick, Where Do You Belong? You’re a Maverick! You have incredible qualities that allow you to see things others miss, and take action where others may not. Your commitment to excellence is unmatched. Your competitive drive cannot be beat. Others see you as fiercely independent and assume you prefer to be a loner. But, beneath all of your Maverick armour, you are a human first. You thrive when leading and learning from others. You likely don’t prefer to go it alone.

You’re a Maverick, but where do you belong?

The phrase, “It’s lonely at the top,” seems tailor made for successful Mavericks. This doesn’t have to be the case. In fact, in a world where diversity and inclusion are more prevalent than ever, it simply cannot be the case, if future personal and professional success is to be achieved. A sense of purpose and a sense of belonging are critical.

For now, we’ll agree that a sense of belonging in the workplace exists when the following criteria are met:

  1. Your personal values align with your organisation’s values (for the most part, anyway)
  2. You trust the integrity and communications of your leaders
  3. Your voice is heard and respected amongst your peers and leaders
  4. You are empowered to express constructive descent
  5. You are supported in mistakes or failures

When any one of these elements is missing, it is certainly possible to still feel a sense of belonging at work. If two or more are missing, feelings of isolation and otherness become more prevalent. In fact, the epidemic of workplace exclusion is a direct result of repeated and systemic failures in small teams, workgroups, and departments that lead to organization level belonging deficits.

Feeling a sense of belonging, as a Maverick, is likely not your first priority. But, ignoring this critical element may have lasting consequences at work for your sense of identity, purpose and mental health. You may not be experiencing a belonging deficit today, but the statistical probability that you will is increasing at a rapid pace. Regardless of where you find yourself currently, the following exercises can help you objectively evaluate and address any deficits, and work toward feeling and creating a sense of belonging at work.

Hey Maverick, Where Do You Belong?

EXERCISE 1: PERSONAL & ORGANISATIONAL VALUES ALIGNMENT

To get a better sense of where your personal values, (those core belief systems that inform right and wrong), and fulfilment of purpose; and the organisation’s values, (the tenets by which the company sees itself to its employees, customers and shareholders); try this simple exercise.

  1. Grab a pen and paper (or a basic spreadsheet) and divide out three columns with the following headers: My Organisation’s Stated Values; My Personal Values; Alignment/Gap.
  2. In My Organisation’s Stated Values, list the stated values.
  3. In My Personal Values, list your values, making sure to line up any that are shared with your organisation’s values. You will likely have some that are not present in the organisation’s stated values. Write those on their own line.
  4. In the Alignment/Gap column, start by addressing those values that appear to be aligned in columns one and two.
    a. List why this value is important to you and to the business.
    b. After you’ve completed that, you should address your personal values that aren’t shared in the organisation’s stated values. List the reason(s) that gap may be present, as well as one or two ideas about bridging that gap.
    c. Lastly, take the same steps with the organisation’s values that are not repeated by your personal values.

If you are in a leadership position, this is a great exercise to do with employees who may be showing decreasing engagement or job satisfaction. If you are not in a leadership position, this exercise can serve as a method to directly addressing any concerns you may have with your supervisors and senior leaders.

Hey Maverick, Where Do You Belong?

EXERCISE 2: TRUST AND INTEGRITY (FOR LEADERS)

As a leader, one of the most critical attributes is the demonstration of integrity. Without it, trust of your leaders and your team is quantifiably eroded. Successful completion of this exercise requires a Maverick quality you likely possess, impeccable self-awareness. As with the previous exercise, you’ll be making a few small lists.

  1. Grab a pen and paper (or a basic spreadsheet) and divide out three columns with the following headers: What I Say AND Do; What I Say, But Don’t Do; What I Do, But Don’t Say.
    a. As you begin to list details in these three columns, use your gift of impeccable self-awareness, combined with any feedback (formal or informal) you’ve received–even if you thought any criticism shared by others was wrong.
    b. This exercise is typically much more difficult than the first (even for Mavericks), as it requires you to be completely transparent and honest with yourself in a way that often creates discomfort. Once you’ve completed your list in each column, you should have identified a few uncomfortable realities.
  2. Make a mark above the column that was most difficult for you to fill out (a star or dot is just fine). For me, this is always the Do But Don’t Say list. The column you marked is where you’ll begin further exploration.
    a. What I Do But Don’t Say: Four Questions to Answer for Each Item on this List
    i. Why do I do this/Is it important?
    ii. What would change if I communicated these with my team?
    iii. Does this build or erode trust?
    iv. When/How will I begin to message this with my team?

b. What I Say But Don’t Do: Four Questions to Answer for Each Item on this List
i. Why do I say this/Is it important?
ii. Does this build or erode trust?
iii. What would change if I stopped saying this?
iv. What would change if I started doing this?

c. What I Say AND Do: Three Questions to Answer for Each Item on this List
i. Is this beneficial to my team?
ii. Does this build or erode trust?
iii. What example/message is this providing?

While these exercises are not solutions directly, they are effective steps in identifying areas of value alignment and trust that may have been overlooked, and areas of misalignment that can be addressed in a meaningful way. They should serve as a tool for further exploration.

A sense of belonging is not a passive act. Leaders must foster inclusive environments where trust, purpose, community, and value alignment exist. An individual must critically assess their own role in identifying and participating in these environments. As a Maverick, you possess a brilliant skill set that uniquely equips you filter out noise and distractions, and work toward solutions. That same skill set, when applied to elevating a culture of belonging, can be a Maverick’s most effective and underestimated tool to sustainable long-term success.

Devin Hallidayhttps://www.rudimentsolutions.com/
Devin Halliday is an award-winning sales leader, with a diverse background and passion for people. He hosts the Belonging Factor Podcast, where he elevates the dialogue around diversity, inclusion, and of course, belonging. Devin is the Founder and Chief Belonging Architect at Rudiment Solutions, a people empowerment company that works with individuals and organizations to thrive in all things people, process, and profits. Devin proudly served in the U.S. Navy. Devin is a Northern California native. He's explored the people, places, and cultures across this beautiful planet. He's been amazed. He's been humbled. He's been outraged. But mostly, he's been inspired to share his lessons with audiences worldwide.

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