Unconscious professional exclusion always sits at the meeting table with us. Whether we want to acknowledge its presence or not. This type of exclusion is the elephant which has followed us into our virtual meeting rooms, too.
Professional exclusion is a form of implicit bias: the attitudes and stereotypes which impact our professional (and personal) actions and decisions. Professional elitism remains a key root cause creating barriers to communication and collaboration across professional disciplines. My speaking, consulting and coaching programs do not shy away from this topic, either.
Often, the quality of team outcomes is hampered by the quantity of professional exclusion present in team dynamics. When the majority of the voices seated around the table are stifled, outcomes become skewed. Have you experienced this impact in your own teams and workplace?
As recently as yesterday, I interacted with a team dominated by three individuals with a pre-determined agenda. Unfortunately, their agenda not only diverged from the rest of the team’s thinking. Also, the changes in agenda threatened to derail the original project objective.
However, the majority of the voices sitting around the virtual table remained silent.
- As I observed these dynamics, one realization became clear. These three professionals were no strangers to marginalizing, excluding, dismissing and possibly intimidating the potential contributions which would never be suggested by the rest of the team.
- First, these three talked a lot amongst themselves, occasionally coming up for a breath of air.
- Next, they rarely asked for input and feedback from other team members. Instead, they unconsciously assumed that their interpretation of next steps was correct and acceptable to the team. Except their assumptions were not even close to being correct. And they never polled the group for feedback.
- Then, these dominant members often referenced the importance of their job titles and career experiences. Thus, they effectively – and subtly – reinforced one major message to the rest of the team. The voices of everyone else were not as important as this triumvirate of dominant personalities.
Ultimately, unconscious professional exclusion won the battle but lost the war. Another wasted team meeting, with no decision made.
As I move through the pandemic with clients, I am seeing professionals take greater ownership of their virtual time. They realize their time is incredibly valuable. And as the year moves on, these team members become less tolerant of colleagues whose professional elitism disrespects them and squanders their time. Some team members will elect to move on and join a new company which values their voices, insights and contributions.
You probably experience the same dynamics during Zoom meetings. For example, where the person-to-person sidebar chat tells the entire story of what really (and negatively) impacts team dynamics and outcomes. By the way, when I facilitate and consult, those messages are sent directly to me. That is where your team’s most important voice of the customer insights reside: out of sight from the rest of the team. It does not need to be that way any more.
Are you tired and bored by being blockaded on teams and relegated to the role of silent team member and order-taker? How might your own professional innovation be liberated from unconscious professional exclusion? Click here and set up a complementary 15-minute discovery call with me. You do not have to battle with domineering team members during meetings. You just need to develop the skills to lead more innovatively, no matter where you sit around the table.
Planning your next team, corporate or association meeting? Searching for a one-on-one catalyst to get you unstuck? Engage me to present a One Millimeter Mindset ™ program! Delivered virtually or in-person. Contact me here.
I specialize in professional innovation, cross-functional leadership and client retention. Together with professionals like you, I translate across communication and collaboration disconnects separating people and professional disciplines. My One Millimeter Mindset™ virtual and in-person speaking programs and workshops leverage Voice of the Customer design methodology and storytelling to move individuals, teams, departments and organizations one millimeter beyond yesterday’s tools and today’s comfortable professional habits and mindset. Why remain an order-taker when you can develop into an innovator and revenue-generator? Become more professionally visible, cross-functionally relevant and strategically valuable to your organization. One millimeter at a time. My playbook of cross-functional collaboration, Do YOU Mean Business? is available on Amazon.com. Contact me here.
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