There is a great deal we can do as we work to bring together our teams as we continue to lead through and out of the traumatic crisis experienced by all of our communities.
The first step is to look at Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, which had served us since 1943 when he developed his paper “A Theory of Human Motivation” in the journal Psychological Review.
We have many needs to meet in our life. Some are essential to our everyday safety and wellness. Other needs in our life we work to achieve. One of the critical factors necessary to schools and classrooms is a sense of belonging.
A strong culture makes what we do worth doing and determines where we choose to stay, even when the work is hard, and not everything is perfect. Culture nurtures our need for belonging and is often overlooked, taken for granted, and sometimes lost when not prioritized.
Culture is not a mystery to us as leaders. We know it is a vital element of our organization and needs to be supported. Individuals within an organization share a common purpose and core values. Expectations are clear. Ideas are always welcomed, shared, and valued. In a positive culture, individual and team contributions are recognized, and collaboration is essential. Routines, traditions, and practices communicate connections, build a sense of identity, help all feel as if they belong, and make the work feel like more than just a job.
How do you help others feel like they belong in your organization? What do you do to belong in your organization? A sense of belonging is vital to each individual within your organization and your team. When an individual does not feel like they belong, a breakdown begins. It does not take long for a positive culture to turn toxic if others start to feel they do not belong, do not connect, and are not validated.