In his insightful article on PM Times titled The Power of Team Belonging, author George Pitagorsky (The Zen Approach to Project Management) raises the importance of inclusiveness, along with some interesting predicaments. For instance, what if a team is under pressure and in the interest of making expedient decisions, excludes one or more members?
There’s something to be said for avoiding time-consuming debate, but there are always methods for including and considering alternate ideas, and informing people why certain approaches are being taken. It also avoids active sabotage. There are even ways of reframing the “outsiders” as external contributors or advisors, whether or not they’re part of the core team. Pitagorsky talks about this in the context of defining formal role definitions for stakeholders.
In my book, Managing the Gray Areas, I talk about seven common leadership dilemmas, one being how to balance the needs of individuals with the needs of the organization. Pitagorsky deftly addresses this issue head on, suggesting ways to make people feel included, even when ruling against their ideas or keeping them external to the core team.
In essence, an ounce of inclusion is worth a pound of disenchantment. Plus you may get some good, alternate ideas or issues to consider.
Pitagorsy sums it up best:
The trade-offs between the perceived burden of communicating, managing relationships and doing due diligence in decision making, and the benefits of healthy long-term relationships, problem avoidance and optimal product quality should drive the decision makers.George Pitagorsky
I highly recommend reading the full article, and considering the impact of belonging whenever making team decisions.