As a new manager, you'll probably experience circumstances when you feel like you aren't being appreciated or your value is in question. You might even question yourself if you feel excluded and ignored. If and when you ever get left out of a meeting, your default reaction might be doubt or retaliation. If you learn to approach the situation rationally, you'll discover a solution that works for everyone.
What Are You Feeling?
If your initial reaction is a negative one, take a few moments to determine exactly what is the root cause of your feelings.
Betrayal: Do you feel like your team has undermined you? Do you feel like they went behind your back and intentionally excluded you? If so, there could actually be underlying trust issues to address. You and your team should be able to communicate if there are any conflicts. You may need to make an effort to be more honest and open with your department. You may need to evaluate your own behavior and make adjustments to improve relationships.
FOMO: Do you feel like you simply missed out on something significant? Does the Fear of Missing Out consume you? Does popularity matter to you? Do you have flashbacks to being alone at recess in elementary school? If so, you should gather more information about the nature of the meeting. Chances are, you probably didn't miss out on much.
Anger: Do you feel frustrated that your company is not following the appropriate protocol? Would you have saved time and made better decisions if you attended the meeting? Did missing the meeting create serious consequences in your work-flow? If so, continue reading.
Weigh Your Priorities
If your work legitimately suffered from missing the meeting, then the next step is to determine the factors of the meeting itself. Decide if your presence was truly necessary, or if changes need to be made in the overall communication chain.
Topic: It may sound too simple, but some topics might not apply to you. Perhaps the meeting was exclusive to only high-level executives who need to discuss sensitive investment matters. If the topic is above your pay-grade, ask your superior if he or she can set up a system to quickly relay information as it becomes available.
If the meeting was a trivial reminder to keep the break room clean and tidy, then you can simply write your thoughts down and have another employee relay the message for you.
Value: You should consider the value of both the meeting's purpose and your personal contribution. A 2012 Survey found that attending meetings is actually the biggest waste of time at work. If the majority of the meeting was spent discussing irrelevant matters, then the small portion of productivity may not have been worth your time. Do the benefits outweigh the investment?
Also, consider your specific skill set and experience. Do you have unmatched insight into the nature of the discussion? Can only you share your knowledge, or could you delegate the task to someone on your team who can represent your perspective?
Your Responsibilities: If you're already drowning in work, then adding more tasks to your schedule might not be the best solution. If you've told your staff that you're feeling overwhelmed, they might actually be trying to relieve you of additional stress.
If your work-flow depends on the outcome of the meeting, you may need to schedule smaller chats before and after. Instead of spending an hour in the meeting, have a quick 5-minute chat with the meeting host beforehand to make sure certain points are addressed. If you need to contribute on behalf of your team, give your presentation to another staff member who can present for you. Make sure to request that someone take detailed notes you can review later.
If you've tried to work with your department to find a solution and they still aren't receptive, the next step is to gather evidence to illustrate the need for your involvement. Sometimes you need the data to back up your claim.
Money: Obviously one of the biggest motivators is the ability to prove that your involvement is cost-effective. Let's say you were left out of the meeting where your department decided to take on a new big client. Because you weren't included, you didn't know about the new client until two days later. You spent two days working on a project for a smaller client with less ROI.
Calculate the dollar amount that your department could have made much faster if you were informed sooner. Present the numbers to the meeting host and/or your superior. Help them understand the benefits of communicating priorities to you.
Time: Now let's say in the same scenario that during the meeting, the host told everyone to drop what they were doing and prepare for the new client. No one told you that specific piece of the puzzle so you continued to work on what you had previously been assigned.
Show your superiors how much time you could have spent working towards the new goal. Be specific and list exactly which tasks you could have completed in those two days if had you been kept up to date.
Resources: At the end of this meeting, the host casually added that all communications moving forward should be digital. All contracts, presentations and reports should be handled online and to avoid paper at all costs. If someone had taken detailed notes during the meeting, you would have known this.
Instead, you printed a 30-page report that is now virtually useless. Communicate to your team the significance of wasting all that paper, ink, time and money. Sometimes they simply need to see tangible results.
With a rational mindset, clear priorities and substantial proof, you can convince anyone that your participation is necessary. If you trust your own value and capabilities, everyone else should understand the need to include you.
Now ensuring that meetings actually run efficiently, well that's a whole other story................
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