The youngest member of the team was trying to make a point, but the second-most-senior person talked over her. When she tried to speak again, the guy with seniority made no eye contact with her.
After the meeting, she stopped by his office, stood in his door and said, “Can we talk more about this, please?”
He ignored her. No response, no eye contact. She gave up.
Within six months, she had left, and he was counseled out.
Completely ignoring someone seems unlikely, or rare, but it happens. Usually in small ways, and at first it just looks like a desire to not spend time with someone.
But whether this happens on a conscious level or not, here’s the upshot:
Exclusion emotionally hurts the other person, and can look like an intentional effort to disconnect that person from the rest of the team.
By disrupting their standing, we can gain support for our cause.
What to do?
Even if you’re frustrated with someone, or you really don’t like them, find a way to acknowledge them, even briefly, with something like, “Give me a few minutes, please. I’m upset about this right now.” Or, “Let’s take a break from this for a couple hours.”
And, if you see one of your people deliberately excluding others, put a stop to it. People with greater social status are more likely to be guilty of this. Ask them, “What are you trying to accomplish by leaving that person out?”
This is the 8th post in an 18-part series discussing what not to do during conflict situations. Effective leaders avoid portraying these 18 behaviors during conflict and address them in others. Follow along as we explore the negative impact of these behaviors, and what to do instead.
Post 1: Leaders Address Arguing During Conflict
Post 2: Leaders Address Belittling During Conflict
Post 3: Leaders Address Caving In During Conflict
Post 4: Leaders Address Being Defensive During Conflict
Post 5: Leaders Address Dismissing Others’ Opinions During Conflict
Post 6: Leaders Address Drama During Conflict
Post 7: Leaders Address Exaggerating During Conflict