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Work related; would appreciate your thoughts(10 Posts)
I'm in a state if anxiety and miserable-ness at the moment.
I have recently been asked to cover a vacant post at a higher grade until it is filled, with the option of applying. I am happy to do this but I have found that two people I work with seem to leave me out of essential work coversations and meetings. Although they are very happy to engage with me of they need an admin task done such as booking a room... I have asked in a friendly working collaborative way to be included in all conversations/meetings so that we are working together to meet the aims of the work programme but to no avail.
As I am working at a higher grade I am reluctant to raise with my line manager as I think I should be finding the solution but I feel frozen out.
There is a lot of background to this and I don't want to drop feed but though it would be best to stick to the bare bones at the moment.
For context, me and the other two are all first line of senior management earning approx £50k.
I don't want to mess this opportunity up as I love the field of work I am and want to apply for the post substantively.
I would suggest you put everything on email for a paper trail.
Email them requesting the time for the next meeting on such a such issue so you can put that in your diary.
You could also cc in the manager. Or if they reply in the negative, you could then email back saying that by leaving you out, they put the project behind. And cc manager in on that one ensuring you leave in the trail.
If they request you to book a room reply (and include the person whoes job it actually is and cc manager) that you will be forwarding the request onto the appropriate person.
The whole time be disgustingly polite. And don't elaborate on anything as this maybe misread.
Why are you doing the admin tasks if you are peers? If these two people want to block you they pretty much can. That's very unfair but it's true. You won't get anywhere by forcing them they have to want to let you in. That is the hard part...getting them to want to let you in. Use every weapon you have at your disposal. Make alliances with their allies. Try to pick them off as individuals and see which one warms up. The higher up you go in management the more you see that what differentiates people is not their talent but their influencing skills. If it doesn't work despite all your efforts, go to your own manager and tell him/her the situation and that you want to use it as a development exercise. Tell him you understand how important influencing is and ask him to coach you in how to deal with the situation. Good luck
Good advice from queen. I have regularly worked with people like this, but I have also worked with people who constantly badgered me to copy them into emails and invite them to meetings when it really wasn't necessary. If your two colleagues work together closely it will be natural for them to exchange information they are not necessarily excluding you on purpose. invest time developing your relationship with them both.
Thank you. All good advice.
I fear I am in a spiral of unhappiness and I need to pull back and get perspective and a plan.
Queen - in terms of progressing and what sets peers apart is exactly what you have written. I feel like I need to step up but I'm feeling unsure of how to go about it it. I have in the past not helped relationship building as I am to the point and like clarity - people knowing what they are responsible for and deadlines etc. This has got some people rubbed up the wrong way and once I was called abrasive. What doesn't help is that I am no good at small talk. I do have my work friends and so I know I can am liked and friendly but ultimately I like to keep a distance professionally.
This advice is a good starting point.
On the room booking. I think it's because I am a short woman with light coloured hair - so even though I am not young, my shortness and fair hair maybe makes them respond to me as though I am a junior member if the team (which I was 20 years ago). And possibly I have that air about me.
I feel so out of my depth. I can do the work but it's the relationships that are getting me down.
Thanks so much.
Okay. I've slept. It's not because I am short and fair but I think because I'm thorough and create work by looking for efficiencies. The admin room booking is because they see it as not their task.
Then they need educating in the fact that it's not your task either.
I think the email trail idea is great. Good luck.
I'd talk to whomever asked you to cover the vacant post, explain the problem, and get their input. They obviously think you are capable of the work and, if they know there is a problem with others continuing to treat you as a junior, they may be able to intervene or at least suggest ways that you can impose your authority
I'd set up 'induction' type meetings with both of them individually to see how you work together. Since you're covering a new role it's natural to want to sit down for coffee with them and ask how the relationship between these roles usually works, what they need from you, what you think you might need from them. Let them help you step up into the role but be proactive and ask for that help
I think it's important that you realise that your weakness is also your strength. You prioritise the work over people and you get shit done. That's why you are being given the opportunity to step up. However you now need to prioritise the relationships over the tasks to be effective in your new role. A senior policewoman I know learned and practiced small talk. She learned about cars and watched match of the day so she could join in in male small talk. She wrote down in a book the name of women's children so she could ask about them. Approach the relationships like a task and be strategic. Cut out the doubt and the self hatred...no one steps up to a new role and is 100pc in every aspect of the new job. Stop putting pressure on yourself to be instantly successful and relax. Good luck and sleep tonight.
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