If you look at the inner workings of any successful company, you’ll notice an intricate web of departments – marketing, IT, HR, engineering, legal, etc. – in constant give-and-take. take the units they support.
As business priorities change, some parts of the company will inevitably command influence and visibility while others sideline. A product line may outgrow its appeal to customers, so the leader or employees associated with it are now considered less important. Or a support function that has developed a reputation as a “blocker” due to preventing execution in the past may be actively avoided by businesses. And it doesn’t help progress now either remote worker, it’s hard to tell if you’re being rejected on purpose.
As with any social setting, if you work in a department that isn’t invited to the party, you may worry that you won’t be included. How to be excluded affect your team’s motivation and efficiency, not to mention your own future influence and career growth? Here are five strategies to follow if you know your department is being rejected.
Reflect on the reason for your dismissal.
In my teaching work, I have learned that not all departments are shunned for the same reasons. And research shows that while job rejection is bad, it’s not always the case maliciously intended.
Have you been sidelined because of bad relationships with those in important positions of influence? Or is it just because you missed some meetings or recent emails? By doing a little research and doing your best to have positive intentions with others, you can better prepare a strategy to increase your influence with key teams and colleagues.
Another common reason why some departments are sidelined is because of a damaged reputation within the company, often due to the wrong steps of a former leader. If you’re the new leader of a team that’s suffering from the sins of your predecessor, it’s important that you make a conscious effort to rebrand, not just sit on the sidelines.
Do not reprimand the former leader but communicate your new vision to the team and other stakeholders with energy. You can tell them, “Our department is focused on driving the business forward and we are actively learning how to build deeper trust with your team than ever before.” If you don’t take control of your department’s narrative and work to replace the “old tapes” in their minds, you risk never getting a seat at the table again.
Tie your department’s work to clear business needs.
One way to regain influence when it’s lost is to show how working with your team can deliver benefits for the overall business. For many non-market-facing departments, this requires proactive business capability development and continuous messaging in the language of business value, not just the dialect of the individual department.
For example, one of my executive coaching clients was a new VP of HR who inherited a team where businesses traditionally ignored strategic issues and only called on them for basic tactical and compliance requirements. tracking.
The VP took a two-pronged approach to raise HR’s strategic value on the people issues that could make or break the company in the future. First, he prioritized developing his HR organization’s ability to think, speak, and act in ways that connect their work to the needs of the business. Second, he focuses on generating interest and urgency from his peers (the members of the business leadership team) around issues where HR can provide significant strategic value. Immediate initiatives in talent recruitment, development, retention, and succession planning, to name a few, are critical to business performance and competitiveness in today’s volatile employee market.
The result of improving his organization, while actively managing its brand with internal customers, is an increase in active collaboration, smarter and more thoughtful decisions, and a more active, motivated HR team.
Expand your perceived value.
Remember that you are more than the job title you have or the department where your office sits. Just because other parts of the company aren’t calling you like they used to that doesn’t mean you have to sit around waiting. Take what you know and what you’ve learned, share your stories, and create awareness without expecting anything in return. As people experience your ideas, unspoken needs arise where people feel compelled to seek your advice.
One of my coaching clients is the VP of corporate strategy and M&A at a Fortune 500 company. When the company flushed cash and bought companies to grow rapidly, he was very influential. But in recent years with the reduction of costs and control of a volatile economy, the activity of his department has decreased significantly.
After a few months of worrying about what this meant for his career, he decided to explore his expertise in markets and strategy and start a newsletter to share his ideas and advice.
What started as a side activity became a vehicle through which people inside and outside his organization saw him as an expert and influencer. On a personal note, he regained a sense of purpose and self-efficacy that kept him motivated during low morale. And his efforts have helped him build new alliances with colleagues that will pave the way for future influence and contribution.
Keep driving results (even if it feels like no one is paying attention).
Power within organizations is situational so it is likely that the lack of influence in your department is not permanent. As events take place in your industry and in the markets your company serves, priorities change, making a part of the business that used to have the easiest to see in the background and the stars of others rise. But if you’re in a phase of low availability, how you act during that time can help or hinder your influence later on.
A study shows that when people are rejected at work they tend to act in one of three ways of coping: pro-social (finding ways to be more helpful), anti-social (finding ways to retaliate or reject others), or seeking solitude. Social belonging is one of our highest human needs but you may be responding to this unfulfilled desire in ways that limit your potential influence at work.
For example, choosing to exclude others or retreat into isolation may relieve the pain of being sidelined but will likely prevent you from being seen as a leader people want to support. Conversely, acting in a prosocial manner while remaining focused on the work at hand gives you a sense of agency in your career if overlooked, rather than being a victim. And if you’re feeling particularly left out, it can feel empowering to lend a hand to others who have been left behind and explore opportunities for mutually beneficial initiatives.
I always advise leaders to think of themselves as the most valuable asset to the business, not just their job or department. After all, the most sophisticated organizations identify their high-potential players, not just high performers; it’s about something important that can make an impact on the whole company and the future, not just the current role.
So, if you operate with a mindset of success that transcends your current station, you will attract opportunities to make a difference in some way. And when things change – and they certainly will – your positive brand as a result and relationship-oriented leader will remain intact.
Build those who come after you.
In those frustrating times when the door is closed to your pursuit of success, it can be empowering to turn around and open the door for someone behind you. Regardless of who is with you or not, you can always choose to lead others from where you are. And by doing so, you increase your influence on the next generation of talent.
I coached a newly hired managing director of a global investment firm whose job was to continuously source deals, pitch them to the company’s management committee and then execute what they approved. He wants to be selected as a partner, depending on how many transactions he can complete. While successfully presenting a record number of deals, he failed to get approval from the committee on most of them. Amidst his anxiety about whether he would have a shot at growing the company, he decided to expand his definition of success. He asked himself, “If I can’t control the flow of the deal, how can I lead?”
By thinking like a partner and company owner, he expanded his measure of success from just deals to developing future talent. So alongside his business development work, he started an initiative to coach junior partners on key aspects of client interactions that lead to better deal hunting. The result is a clear view of the influence of the content, even if his pitches are not suitable for investment.
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As business needs and work relationships continue to change, so does the relative influence of certain departments, which can feel out of action. But by following these recommendations during a period of inactivity, you can increase your value and be ready to exercise greater influence in the future.