In this era of remote workers, it’s easy to accidentally leave someone out of a conversation or a meeting. Even more, you can accidentally pass over an introverted person in a meeting or exclude someone who’s culturally different from the rest of the group.
You don’t want to be missing those good ideas these folks aren’t sharing!
If your manager is interested in making sure everyone is included (and she should be!), you can help her by being the bug in her ear, reminding her of these important ways she can make sure no one feels left out.
Seek input in discussions – If your organization is lucky enough to have a diverse staff, then it’s likely you might encounter folks who culturally don’t care for the idea of speaking up in a crowd. Or you could just have an introvert in the group who hesitates to speak. These people could have amazing ideas, so encourage your manager to solicit their opinions and thoughts before moving on to the next subject. Or speak up yourself and suggest that the team hear what’s on their minds!
Encourage video conferences for distributed team members – People work from home nowadays, and it’s easy for them to feel left out of home office goings on. Tools like Skype, FaceTime and Fuze provide ways for you to see your remote team members when you’re talking to them. The video services are mostly free, and so worth it!
Keep meeting minutes and notes in a place where everyone can access them – This is particularly nice to do if you’re a group with remote team members, too. Whether your notes are securely placed on the cloud or on a network drive for easy access, this will help keep the whole team in the loop.
Allow all your team members to have their moment in the spotlight – If it makes sense, encourage your manager to allow each of his direct reports the opportunity to run the team meeting, or something similar. Your manager should be allowing others to be seen, both within her own team and to other internal and external customers. Employees feel very included when they have an opportunity to develop their skills and show them off.
Be careful you’re not inadvertently excluding co-workers – Maybe you’re always forgetting to invite a team member to a meeting on a subject that has impact on that person’s work. Or maybe it’s a more subtle behavior: I have a co-worker who addresses each of our male team members as “mister” but addresses every female employee by her first name. While it’s nice to show our male counterparts respect in the office, if you don’t extend that same respect to your female co-workers, they can feel excluded. I’m sure this hasn’t even occurred to her, but as a female, I’ve definitely noticed!
Celebrate differences – That same person who’s culturally programmed to say very little in meetings might feel a bit left out when the rest of the group partakes of behavior that’s common to their own culture. Give everyone equal time to show off their differences. This is where all the good ideas come from.
Making everyone feel a part of the team, and making everyone feel important, is a full-time job. Every day should be a new effort for your manager, and every day you can be looking for more opportunities to make inclusion happen. The ‘next great thing’ might be the germ of an idea that’s currently sitting quietly in your most introverted employee’s head. Don’t miss out! Include.
Next Post: Wednesday, November 19