Celebrating uniqueness to encourage inclusion and diversity.
Updated: Apr 26
The pandemic has given us an opportunity for deep introspection which has opened our eyes to what really matters. As a result of these awakenings, many are re-connecting to their core values and realising that their need for meaning, for being useful, for making an impact was not being fulfilled. There are many career changes taking place and companies are realising that stimulating the intrinsic motivation of their employees is essential.
One aspect of intrinsic motivation is the need to express one's talents. When employees are able to fully express their talents (what they like to do and what they are good at) they can not only claim expertise but also find their place. Thus, managers must be able to reveal these talents in order to bring them to light so that they serve the well-being of employees and, of course, the company.
By definition, a talent is "an ability to do something" and can therefore include our natural or acquired aptitudes. There is a tendency to emphasise acquired skills (diplomas, experience, projects carried out, etc.) and neglect our natural abilities.
Although in a job interview we ask some questions such as "why are you the ideal candidate? - tell me about yourself", the values, personality and motivation of the employee are rarely questioned. One could think of including questions such as:
When do you feel that you are in your element?
What activity do you get lost in (flow)?
What talents do you need to express to feel satisfied?
Do you consider yourself an introvert/extrovert?
What is your learning style?
The candidate must be able to answer these questions truthfully without fear of revealing a weakness that could cost him the job. To limit this fear of expressing one's "authentic self", it is therefore necessary to encourage inclusion and diversity.
Looking at my own experience, I am a highly sensitive person and I consider myself an introvert. High sensitivity is characterised by high sensory, emotional, intuitive and cognitive reactivity. Thanks to these particularities, I have a natural talent for empathy, analysis, listening, intuition... These have allowed me to excel in behavioural coaching and performance coaching in corporate environments.
However, the noisy, very bright corporate environment and the countless meetings one after the other were exhausting me. A simple solution would have been, for me to move around the office more freely and sometimes work in quieter spaces, or to include some quick breaks in between meetings for meditation to recharge. But again, the fear of being judged, of asking too much, of falling behind...prevented me from even thinking about these adjustments.
These fears are real barriers to diversity and inclusion but they can be reduced by information. Not all managers are trained to understand neurodiversity, to coach their talents and allow them to value their uniqueness and reveal their expertise.
Any talent can become a real strength when used in the right context. Someone who finds their place in a context where they can be completely themselves, who pursues missions attached to their values, in which they can express their uniqueness, is undeniably a more fulfilled and effective person.
Through my individual coaching, I invite employees to become aware of their strengths and values to finally help them align what they do with who they really are.
By cultivating the uniqueness of each individual, the context in which the employee evolves becomes more creative, autonomous and flexible and thus favours innovation and collaboration.