You don’t have to lose in order to provide space for someone different. Mountains of research support the notion that it is in your benefit, society’s benefit, and your company’s benefit, to surround yourself with diverse groups of people AND encourage them to be who they are. Groups are smarter, more productive, more innovative, healthier, and happier when the individuals that comprise them are invited to authentically express their individuality. The only way it’s a zero sum game is if you are only interested in your own advancement, and not the betterment of the whole group (company, organization).
Expressions of individuality include but are not limited to the Title VII
protected categories, (race, sex, religion, national origin, color). Some of the oft dismissed or stifled expressions of individuality include creativity, sexual orientation, gender identity, cognitive ability, hobbies, personal preferences, fashion, language, political affiliation, generational norms, work style, family culture, and so on. Many members of so-called majority groups have experiences and perspectives that are unique and that too often go untapped. In a truly inclusive culture, everyone’s unique views have a role in creating a stronger overall organization.