If you’ve ever received a backstage pass, you know how fun it can be. You also know how it can induce imposter syndrome in some people (“I just won a contest — I don’t really belong here!”), nonchalance in others (“I’m the sound guy. This is my job.”) and a sense of entitlement in others (“Of course people are fawning all over me. I am a celebrity!”). But then there are those who are grounded in that lovely place of recognizing they have no more or less right to be under those stage lights than anyone else, but they are grateful for the invitation, enjoying the moment and performing at their very best.
There is a dramatic difference between being permitted to be somewhere versus being needed. And a similar difference between being needed and being welcome. And how different it feels to surpass welcome to being wanted in that space.
As I’ve been learning more about inclusive leadership recently, this distinction is resonating deeply with me.
Teams that are diverse across a wide range of variables perform better. That performance is also often hard-won. It’s easier to surround ourselves with people who look and sound and think like we do. Resisting that temptation can be tiring and disruptive. And so worth it. Don’t just tolerate variety or even wish for it. Want it, and go after it.