Article: Fitting In: The Human Need Impacting Your Team

A sense of belonging is a fundamental human need.

Build belonging and connectedness in your team

People bring their human selves to work. Without exception, everybody wants to belong, fit in, feel accepted and connected to something outside ourselves. A sense of belonging is a fundamental human need.

When people don’t have a sense of belonging, they do not perform at their best. While it is true individuals have to be responsible for managing their own sense of belonging, it is also true that a leader’s behaviors have significant influence over an individual’s sense of belonging.

Leaders often expect new team members to figure it out on their own. New team members do just that—through their own lenses and filters. Chances are high new team members won’t quite be aligned with the leader or the team because they are working from pictures they made up instead of pictures shared by the leader and their team.

Consider these simple ways to build belonging and connectedness with your team.

  1. Ask your team members how they are doing. How connected do they feel? What supports that connection? What gets in the way?
  2. Dig into the responses to better understand what the person is really saying.
  3. Don’t settle for the one-word responses of fine, busy or overwhelmed.
  4. Ask your team members individually what they think are the team’s purpose and goals. Chances are you will find almost as many different pictures as you have members on your team.
  5. Work with the team to create a more unified picture.

Would your employees agree with these statements?

  • My opinions are not valued.
  • I don’t understand my team’s purpose, strategy and goals.
  • I don't understand the unwritten rules of my team.
  • I'm not given important projects.
  • I'm not included on decisions that affect my work.

Often the issue is not the person or their performance; it’s their connection to the team.

Learn more about team optimization

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