Hey, what am I? Chopped Liver?
We all do it. We either consciously choose to exclude or include others in our conversations at work, church, and in the home. Sometimes when we do it it we do not even realizing we are doing it and other times we strategically do it. At that time we may think it is best for the other person, how altruistic of us. Other times we may do it to conceal the subject matter from the other person. Then there are the times we do it to avoid conflict. Let's admit it, we as humans create so much conflict, but individualistically most of us dislike it and strive to avoid it at all costs. Despite the logic or your intent, when we leave others out of a conversation the results are more harmful than we realize.
As we all know, we want to be seen, heard, and included. We want to be valued and wanted. We want to be recognized for what we can offer to the team. What we bring to the table. Our potential to contribute. One of my top 10 Clifton Strengthsfinder strengths is "Significance." I see the importance of being recognized for a job well done and work to insure others are recognized for it as well. When we opt to exclude someone from a conversation or a project that they should be a part of either by the role they have in the organization or the strengths they bring to the team we do exactly the opposite. We send a strong signal to that team member that they are not important. That they do not matter. Be careful. This decision to exclude that team member can be extremely harmful to the psyche of that individual and their sense of self-worth.
Excluding others from a conversation or a project also impacts your team's effectiveness. Let's face it. Our resources are finite. We need every available asset to maximize our effectiveness. When you exclude a member of your team from a mission that is germane to their specialties, you greatly diminish your team's effectiveness. Consider your choices carefully, when you decide who to include and exclude from a project. The team member that you exclude may be the team member that you need to turn a good result into a great accomplishment.
Long term, your decision to exclude another team member dissolves trust throughout your team. That my friend, greatly impacts your ability to lead. When you create a culture of distrust or what some call a trust deficit, you dramatically reduce your effectiveness as a leader and you reduce the harmony in the group. This decision to exclude is observed by all members of your team either consciously or subconsciously and this creates a sense of suspicion. Will he or she exclude me next time? Why isn't Johnny here? What did he do? The negative emotions and ramifications of leaving others out are widespread. They are not just isolated to the excluded member.
Let's be vulnerable here. We all do this at some point. We all exclude others. Moreover, this also happens to us from time to time despite your status, title, or position in the organization or on your team. That's right! We get excluded as well. How does it make you feel? Interestingly enough this just happen to me. Ouch! That's right. It sucks! You are on top and are involved in everything, until your not. It creates despair and really has a negative impact upon your sense of self-worth. You reflect and attempt to ascertain why you were left out. You attempt to remember if you put your deodorant on that morning. Once you determine you did nothing wrong, then you begin to villainize the one who left you out of the loop. That my friends brings no value to the team.
You see. Despite the your intentions when you choose to leave others out, the one thing you accomplished by the exclusion created a cascade of unintended negative affects upon the team and the organization. The moral of the story here is to be very cognizant of who you leave out of a project and/or conversation. Even when it may take additional time, energy, and/or effort to include all of your key team members, the up front extra lift is much easier than the long term and widespread negative ramifications of exclusion.
One of our core organizational values is "Every Person Matters." We also have a mantra that we strive to live by: "Tell one tell all." When we act based upon this value and practice, we are successful. When we stray from this value and practice, that's when we begin to breakdown and falter. Truly, every person matters. Set the table for your entire team. Build trust and morale by inclusion; rather than diminishing trust and morale in your organization by exclusion.
Hey, what am I? Chopped liver? No, you are prime rib! You are important to me and the organization. You are valued more than you know.
Kudos and gratitude go out to Pam Spencer the Communications Manger for the City of Paducah, Kentucky for recommending this Blog Topic. I hope this blog does Pam's idea justice.