Inspiring Inclusion, the STLher way! By Khushboo Chawla

Inspiring Inclusion, the STLher way! By Khushboo Chawla

What does inclusion mean? I am not asking this question in light of the Women’s Month we celebrated but in the context of our day-to-day lives. Inclusion essentially means that all people, with their unique personalities, are able to be at ease in their environment. The words ‘at ease’ are key here. To be at ease anywhere, we have to be comfortable with who we are, bring our authentic selves to the fore without the fear of judgment, and also feel a sense of belongingness.

When we feel at ease, included, and connected, we are happy. So when we talk about inclusion in the workplace, I imagine exactly this. All STLers regardless of their gender, identity, ethnicity, personality, or working style feel happy, at ease, and fully accepted within this STL family!

It’s not an easy thing. If we look at it intellectually, the ‘workplace’ will have to factor in the personalities of each and every person and ensure that all of these unique, sometimes conflicting personalities seamlessly co-exist. But underlying every complex phenomenon in the world is a very simple tenet that explains or drives it. For example, behind the complex biology and heredity of human beings is a single non-divisible unit called the Gene. Behind the massively multi-factorial chaos of the universe, there is a simple building block called the atom.

Similarly, for this multi-faceted workplace, the smallest non-divisible unit is us! All the people who make it. Inclusion is also an outcome of our daily interactions. I feel inclusion is really about this little shift in our minds to accept a variety of thoughts and perspectives and understand how different experiences shape people differently.

So it really boils down to this. When we look at a woman colleague who is super assertive, can we avoid the temptation to stereotype? Instead, can we accept it as a natural personality trait and reason assertively with her? When we come across a colleague who is emotionally overwhelmed – it can be a new mom, a male caregiver, or even a trainee challenging mental health, can we try to keep judgment at bay and tweak our working style to accommodate their needs? And last but not least, when we work as global colleagues, can we try to understand the cultural context and break the barriers that come in the way of collaboration?

Our approach to these interactions is the make or break for inclusion. And it cannot be instructed. It can only be inspired. 

Happy STLher Month!

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Inspiring Inclusion, the STLher way! By Khushboo Chawla

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