Includer: Outside In



I recently had the opportunity to participate in a two-day training on a behavioral style called The Outward Mindset.  In a nutshell, people with an inward mindset are self-focused and people with an outward mindset are others focused.

When you are behaving inwardly, you see people as objects or vehicles to use.  People often go inward when they are feeling either superior or inferior to others.  Red Flags of being inward include placing blame, being critical, labeling others or feeling victimized.

Often times, when you are inward with another person or group of people, they are inward right back at you, which causes a never ending cycle of mistrust and swirl.

People who work with an outward mindset are present and interested in every person they interact with.  They naturally want to understand the needs, challenges and objectives of others and will adjust their efforts to be more helpful.

In addition to improved collaboration, an outward mindset is also a great approach to use when providing performance feedback to direct reports.  Starting with seeing your employees as people and building relationships with them, you should always progress to listening and learning, then teaching and communicating and then finally working together to correct the situation.  Too often, we jump right to correcting the situation instead of taking the outward approach.

Recognizing and respecting the unique talents of others through StrengthsFinder is a great way to see people as people vs. objects (outward mindset rule #1) and provides a pathway towards deeper relationships and mutual understanding (the foundation of an outward mindset).

While all people are capable of having an outward mindset, people with the StrengthsFinder Talent Theme Includer are most likely to gravitate towards "others" thinking most quickly. 

People with the Talent Theme Includer are instinctively accepting of others. Includers cast few judgments.  Their accepting nature rests on the conviction that we are all the same.  We are equally important.  Nobody should be ignored and everyone should be included.

Includers are sensitive to those who are excluded and have an innate desire and capacity to bring them into the group.  Their outward mindsets bring outsiders inside.


When you are working with someone with the Talent Theme Includer, you should help them leverage their talents to shrink the gap between insiders and those on the outside.

* People with Includer are great at making new team members feel welcome.  They are adept at making others feel accepted.  Put them in charge of setting up on-boarding agendas for your department to successfully integrate new employees into your culture.

* Includers can get others to participate in meetings through their thoughtful approach.  They should develop a list of questions or activities to use as ice-breakers to draw out opinions of others in a group setting.

* Inclusion can also involve information.  People with Includer have a keen sense of who needs to know about upcoming projects, activities or opportunities.  They can make it easier to share information more broadly.


Dan is currently serving 20 years to life as the Sr. Director of Destination Experiences at Universal Orlando Resort.  He prefers white-water rapids over data lakes and lists Ideation, Futuristic and Positivity amongst his signature talents.    Find him on Twitter @dpddonovan 

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