We’re talking about trust, communication, and diversity & inclusion in the workplace. What’s on your mind? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Cut launched a column a couple months ago called Piece of Work:
- “Piece of Work is a weekly column about workplace behavior and feelings: everything that happens at the office, except your actual job.”
Yes! I love it.
It’s authored by Senior Health Writer Katie Heaney.
A recent piece is called What to Do When You Feel Left Out at Work. Here’s what jumped out at me.
Feeling left out is not something to be ashamed of, in part because relationships and informal networks do impact careers.
Relationships across the hierarchy can be especially problematic:
- “If someone really high up in an organization is really close with someone below them, it can call into question the way processes are being done in the organization more broadly.”
Regardless of the reality, perception of favoritism matters. It can erode trust. (We wrote about Frances Frei and her emphasis on trust a few weeks ago.)
If you’re feeling left out, find an ally:
- “Research suggests ‘it only takes one friendship in the workplace to eliminate those feelings of loneliness,’ says Methot. ‘We feel pretty secluded until we form that one strong, good connection.'”
- “This is generally an informal relationship, says Methot (i.e. this person is probably not your direct manager), and is often a peer — perhaps one who’s a little more extroverted, or has been at the office longer than you have.”
Also, beware of overestimating how it feels to be in the inner circle:
- Cliques also present “a challenge for … those people in the groups, who might want to be less involved, but can’t be.”
- “This is not to say that the work friends you see gathering at lunch every day secretly hate each other, but it is a reminder that no friendship group is without its own discord and alienation — especially at work.”
- Heaney cites a paper called Friends Without Benefits: Understanding the Dark Sides of Workplace Friendship (which, it turns out, is free to download).
Although there are things an individual can do to improve his or her situation, the onus is largely on leadership to create an inclusive office culture.
Which brings me to this:
- If you’re in a leadership position, how do you think about this?
- Do you have a reliable way of figuring out who’s feeling left out?
Email me at email@example.com.
(If only there were an app for sharing your feelings with colleagues …)
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