The Conference Room Door Closes

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The Conference Room Door Closes

Jack, our 12 year old son, and I went along with my wife to a company where she was recruiting investment for Michigan. Jack and I lined up for a tour of this “great company to work for” and Jennifer was ushered into a conference room and the door closed behind for her meeting. I felt the old ego-twinge and confided to my growing son, “I’m having one of those moments, Jack, where Mom is going into the meeting, and I’m being sent off on the spouses and grandparents tour. Makes me feel unimportant.” And I wondered out loud to him, “Does that make any sense to you?”

“Are you kidding?” he shot back. “I only feel that way all the time!”

Dumbfounded by the intensity of his response and the frequency he expressed, I asked, “Seriously?” “Yes,” he said, “People always treat me like a little kid who doesn’t think.”

What a lesson to relearn! It made me wonder: how many executives complain to their spouses, “You won’t believe it, but the strategy team is meeting without me,” or “The management team is going ahead without even asking our opinions!” But those same people – like me in the situation with Jack – are largely oblivious to the facts that (a) their subordinates often feel every bit as excluded, and (b) they are likely the cause of at least some of that exclusion.

We hardly need to speculate on the results: Feelings of exclusion, thoughts of cynicism, declining trust, and increasing detachment from both the work and the leaders.

Seek to include and to value others’ opinions to

Lead with your best self,

Dan