Please or Register to create posts and topics.

This weird thing happend to me...

12

Hi all,

This strange thing happened to me at work today. I'd like to hear your take on it. I'll try to be as clear as possible.

I recently joined a work group at the office. My manager asked me to join. I agreed on the condition I won't have to participate in all of the meetings. Because I don't have the patience. Especially at my work they tend to take hours without anything being decided. She agreed.

Today the work group had their monthly meeting again.

I had other obligations so I couldn't join. But since I'm new to the group, they asked me to briefly introduce myself at the beginning of the meeting. I agreed.

The meeting was via MS Teams. With about 7 people. Since I was physically at the office, and another co-worker from the same department who also is a member of that work group was at the office as well, I sat next to her behind the laptop.

That co-worker introduced me saying:

Razor is our new team member, he won't join the entire meeting but will briefly introduce himself.

So I introduced myself, saying that my strengths are making infographics, which I've made for this work group in the past. I also said that meetings aren't my strongest point so I won't join every meeting.

They said they were happy about me joining the group because of the infographics I make. All very positive.

So the chairman of the meeting said:

OK, welcome to the team Razor!

So I said:

Thanks! Well, good luck with the rest of the meeting.

So I stood up, ready to leave. Then the chairman of the meeting, who is a team manager at my department, jokingly said:

Woah, woah, woah, wait a minute. You're not getting rid of us that easily!

So I sat down again. Otherwise they would only see the middle of my body...

He then only said:

I will add you to the MS Teams group and if you've got questions just ask.

And that was it! He made me sit down again for that very short, and useless addition!

I again said: "Thanks! Good luck with the meeting." And left.

So, what would you guys make of this.

Was I wrong for thinking my introduction was done and getting ready to leave?

What kind of message did I send off.

Powermove wise, was this bad?

Yeah, it was a bad move.

And I would have been surprised if the boss hadn't called you right back.

He actually avoided being too overpowering and by saying "you're not getting rid of us", he took part of the blame for the mishap, as if to say "I know we're a boring bunch, but you must endure us longer".

WHY WAS IT A BAD MOVE?

Anyone else can guess why?

And why was it a bad move to leave right after once again?

How could he have taken some points back after the boss called him right back?

And what can Razor do now to recoup those points?


P.S.: check out here.

Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?

Lucio: "He actually avoided being too overpowering and by saying 'you're not getting rid of us"

Yea, I felt something when he phrased it that way, but now that Lucio pointed it out I can see what it was that made me feel a bit iffy. The "us" seems to set up that collaborative frame of "it's not just me who feels like you're ditching us here, it's all of us".

And, that reminds me of when I took Lucio's free course and there was a lesson with Donald Trump sitting down in a sort of disagreement with a group of people standing opposite of him. Lucio mentioned that the power dynamics shift if you change the side of the room you're standing on in terms of "taking sides". (Ex: If you're in a disagreement with Trump but you stand next time, on his side of the room, opposite the people you're actually agreeing with, it looks like you're actually agreeing with Trump since you're still physically on his side. And, that shifts the power dynamics).

That's what it felt like happened here. I could imagine Razor getting ready to leave, headed for the door, and as he turned around at the chairman's comment he's looking at everybody who's still in the meeting with the chairman. And, on top of the chairman verbally solidifying that frame, it can seem like "us vs you".

WHY WAS IT A BAD MOVE?

Not entirely sure. My post here is a shot in the dark to see what I can learn.

What I noticed is that this felt like the word "Alright" under "Typical Expressions of Dominance". That's in the sense that if someone says "Alright" to close the conversation they're stepping up as a sort of leader, dictating what we talk about, when that conversation is over, and when a new one starts. And, a way of neutralizing that expression of dominance is by reopening that conversation with a question you "want more clarity on". And, that's what it felt like the chairman did to exert dominance over the situation.

Razor closing the introduction and getting ready to leave was a way of him determining when introductions are over as the new guy. And, it seems like the chairman wanted to establish that he has total control here (and that he's in charge) by reopening introductions.

What made it a bad move was that there seemed to be a dominant way to go about this and a submissive way. It's sort of like a situation where someone overuses guiding behavior in a neutral environment to exert dominance over you and the environment. Let's say, they do this by inviting you to sit down when you're at a random Starbucks location and NOT their home. You can submissively accept their leadership over you or do your best to avoid fully complying by continuing to stand for about ten seconds to make sitting down seem like your decision.

And, that's what confuses me right now. What's a way to avoid total compliance here without coming across as a potential enemy/threat to your boss?

WHAT I WOULD HAVE DONE

Razor said, "I had other obligations so I couldn't join." So, in his shoes, I might have done a quick reframe.

Chairman: "Woah, woah, woah, wait a minute. You're not getting rid of us that easily!"

Ali: "Oh, (validate them and their feelings) I'd love to stay and I'm excited to get to know you all better, (assertive "no" technique) but I have some other obligations to take care of right now ("right now" implies that once those obligations are taken care of we can pick up where we left off). Was there something you needed?" (Leaves the door open to maintain collaborative frame)

I'm not the most caught up on the workplace module, but this might've been my go-to based on what I've learned so far.

Lucio Buffalmano and Matthew Whitewood have reacted to this post.
Lucio BuffalmanoMatthew Whitewood

Anyone else wants to take one more stab?

This exercise will be good for your social / emotional intelligence.

Matthew Whitewood has reacted to this post.
Matthew Whitewood
Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?

This is a relevant thread to this topic:
The loyalty tests: to be promoted quick, you must pass these tests

Context

You recently joined a new work group.
This means you most likely have little context and little influence in the team.

In any social circle that you newly join, it is important to show to the other team members that you are someone who intends to add value.
Even better is bringing value right at the start.
You can do this by doing your homework in advance and with a collaborative, warm attitude.

Introduction

That co-worker introduced me saying:

Razor is our new team member, he won't join the entire meeting but will briefly introduce himself.

The way your coworker introduces here is not very good.
In this situation, it would be best to ask your coworker to leave out the second part of the statement.
It draws attention to the fact that you are a new team member and that you are not joining the entire meeting.
It does not sound collaborative in the sense that people may feel you are not team-oriented.

So I introduced myself, saying that my strengths are making infographics, which I've made for this work group in the past. I also said that meetings aren't my strongest point so I won't join every meeting.

Letting them know that you are good at making infographics is a good idea.
Even if you have not actually contributed anything.
It is a way of highlighting future value to bring to the team.
Awesome that the general team was receptive towards your skills in making infographics.

However, you should leave out the part that meetings aren't your strong point.
Now this paints yourself as a lone worker who makes infographics at your desk.
This distances yourself away from the chairman, your managers and colleagues.
People may consciously or subconsciously worry about how you would fit your work with theirs.

Chairman's Frame

OK, welcome to the team Razor!

The chairman (team manager) extended a warm invitation to you to the team.
In a nasty corporate world, some executives would ignore you and skip right to their agenda if you don't have much influence in the office.

This is a warm sign of initiation.
At the same time, he sets an expectation.
He is signalling that he would like you to get involved in this meeting.
He would like you to participate and chip in with the other team members.

Thanks! Well, good luck with the rest of the meeting.

This directly breaks rapport with the team manager.
He welcomes you to the team, and you say you are leaving right away.
Furthermore, "good luck with the resting of the meeting" frames that you don't really care about any of the discussion about to take place.

The team manager is actually really friendly as I view his replies.
If I was the team manager, I would definitely call you back as well.
There is an element of respect here for the team manager.
More importantly, as the team manager, he is responsible for setting a collaborative tone for the team.
It is a disaster for any project when everyone goes off to work on their own.

Woah, woah, woah, wait a minute. You're not getting rid of us that easily!

Very warm and friendly again.
As Lucio says, he takes part of the blame and indirectly hints that he would like you to participate in this meeting.
Or at least sit in, listen and get to know how the others work.

More assertive managers would say "I would like you to stay for the meeting.".
Dominant managers would say "Please stay for the meeting.".

I will add you to the MS Teams group and if you've got questions just ask.

This is a sign of a good manager actually.
Some managers don't even bother to actively get you up to speed.
They will ask someone in their team to help you get up to speed.
Or they throw you documentation and reports to read.

"Thanks! Good luck with the meeting."

This breaks rapport once again.
The team manager would probably think that you don't get teamwork.
Probably other teammates within that team as well.

Linking to the thread mentioned right at the top, it is also important to pass loyalty tests as well.
Sometimes, managers would like you to do things to show commitment to their team and their authority.
It makes sense from a politically charged office environment.
There are many conflicts of interest, and people want to know where you stand relative to them in terms of interests.
Sometimes, that matters more than your actual output for career advancement.

How You Should Have Reclaimed Points After the First Request to Come Back?

Chairman: Woah, woah, woah, wait a minute. You're not getting rid of us that easily!

Razor: I would certainly stay for the meeting.
I was about to work on infographics for this project.
That can come after.
I would like to listen and understand from you and the other teammates more about how the team works.
And potentially contribute any points from my skills & experience in infographics.

 

If You Want to Leave the Virtual Meeting

Since your colleague is right beside you, I would say that, if you really wanted to not stay for the meeting, you can leave after a while.
Tell your colleague that you had urgent work to do.
Best if you can come out with a good reason to tie this urgent work to your new project with this team.
Then, if someone asks for you, she can cover for you on your behalf.
Great if she knows your work quite well, and she is one of your allies in the workplace.

What To Do Afterwards

I would suggest that you approach the team manager and addressed what happened.
The frame should be drawing attention to respecting his authority and a collaborative attitude towards his team.

Razor: I did not mean to leave the meeting so abruptly. (show that you were not intending on dominating him because you broke rapport twice)
It was an unfortunate, urgent matter that I had to attend to. (show this as a one-off occasion)
I am excited to work with this team and understand how you lead this team. (collaborative and respectful to the manager's authority)
I would definitely do my best to add value to this team. (portray yourself as an active value-adder & team contributor)

Lucio Buffalmano has reacted to this post.
Lucio Buffalmano

Matthew: In any social circle that you newly join, it is important to show to the other team members that you are someone who intends to add value.

Exactly!
Picking up and leaving right after the introduction is a social slap in the face, it's like saying "here's me, and now I'm going, that's how much I care, see you fuckers".

And from a power dynamics point of view, the fact that you introduced yourself but didn't even wait for the others to introduce themselves, it's like saying "you need to care about me, but I don't need to care about you".

(Mental) the reaction of the other people? F*ck that newcomer, who does he think he is?

Matthew: This is a warm sign of initiation.

Yes.
A warm welcome to the team, a good sign.
In this case, a good act of kindness that wasn't repaid (not piling on Razor, just analyzing the interaction, Razor is not his behavior and he's learning this stuff).

Matthew: There is an element of respect here for the team manager.

Absolutely!

Both of respect, and of power.

This is similar to the thread where we discussed staying out longer at the office VS leaving early.

Removing yourself is a way of removing the manager's authority/power over you.

Indirectly, it both decreases the boss' power, and it decreases his status as well, since other people look at Razor and might think "if he can do that freely, our boss maybe is not so powerful. Maybe I should do the same, too!"

No boss likes that, and especially not after they've been kind first, and especially not right after one's just joined, which is the "test-period" where one's supposed to prove himself, "make his bones", and replenish that social bank account before he starts drawing from it -again, slap in the face to the person you least want to slap-.

Matthew: This breaks rapport once again.
The team manager would probably think that you don't get teamwork.
Probably other teammates within that team as well.

Exactly.

No offense to Razor, but if we're here to learn social and power dynamics, then the truth is that the second time he did the same, it turned almost comical, like a story people might start telling around:

"The boss called him back, and what does that kid do? He leaves again right after (everyone laughs)".

As a matter of fact, making the same mistake twice might have actually saved Razor, since people might then move from "he's rude" or "he's not a good team member / good fit for this place" to "OK, he just doesn't get it", which is actually much better in terms of potential damage.

Matthew: Sometimes, managers would like you to do things to show commitment to their team and their authority.

Absolutely.

That sometimes -or often- trumps actual work delivered.
If there is another guy in the future, or a new applicant doing lower quality infographics, but he shows more appreciation and loyalty for the boss, chances are good that the boss might prefer to keep the lower-quality work but higher-loyalty guy -and I wouldn't even blame the boss for that, it's just how most people are wired-.

P.S.: funny enough, I typed that answer before I kept on reading Matthew's reply and then go to where he said: "Sometimes, that matters more than your actual output for career advancement" -yes, way to go, Matthew :)-.

Anyway, this might be painful for you to read, Razor, but it's a great chance to take a bit step forward in terms of personal development.

Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?

Haha, I was pretty way off, thanks, guys!

Matthew, I don't know what meditation routine you're doing, but whatever it is, it's working :D. Really detailed analysis man, thanks for your breakdown.

I think my mistake was forgetting that this was a first impressions situation and, being a newbie, the situation has to be handled with a bit more care than I showed in my post. So, thanks to you as well Lucio, for expanding on the dynamics here and what could've been done better.

Really valuable thread here 🙂

Lucio Buffalmano has reacted to this post.
Lucio Buffalmano
Quote from Ali Scarlett on January 15, 2021, 10:57 pm

I think my mistake was forgetting that this was a first impressions situation and, being a newbie, the situation has to be handled with a bit more care

Exactly!

That's what makes it a special case.

Had he been there a long time, shown good work, and had a great relationship with everyone, then it could have been fair and also a power-up move, as if to say "I got status and independence here: I provide great value, and I can afford not to waste my time sitting around".

But in that case, he'd have earned it (and he'd hopefully knew the boss was OK with it).

Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?
Quote from Lucio Buffalmano on January 15, 2021, 11:24 pm

Had he been there a long time, shown good work, and had a great relationship with everyone, then it could have been fair and also a power-up move, as if to say "I got status and independence here: I provide great value, and I can afford not to waste my time sitting around".

Exactly! Glad you're saying this. This is exactly the message I wanted to send off.

Like I said, I've made infographics for this group before and they were very happy with it. This is the sole reason my manager asked me to join this group. Specifically for the infographics.

I told her I hate long useless meetings so I would join the group on the condition I wouldn't have to go to the meetings. She agreed.

This group is known for their long (useless) meetings without actually deciding things.

This was proven yet again when the co-worker called me in saying the meeting was about to begin. So I was right on time at 2pm sharp. But then for 5 minutes the rest were just chatting, making jokes, bantering. Wasting my time. Only at 2.05pm did the meeting finally begin.

I'm the only one at my department who has the ability to present information in a clear and visual pleasing way. People praise me for it. So yes, I've got some status at my department.

Thanks guys for the analysis!

Got it, Razor.

Yeah, we -or I- may have downplayed the previous agreement you had with the boss.

Still, now it gets clearer with the added information that you already have a good reputation and status.

And still yet, your early departure could have been smoother.
Also because the agreement was with the boss, and when you pull that move in front of the team, the team might not know about that, and you make her lose face.

So you might bring that up yourself.
For example:

Alright, pleasure saying hi to you guys.
I was talking to (boss name) before and told her I'm not the meeting type of guy much, so please bear with me if I won't be sitting through the whole time, trust me even when I'm not here, I'm still happy to be inlcluded in the team (Or, more cheeky: I still love you guys (smile here, as if to say "I'm kinda joking, but still it's true")
Is there anything you guys or (boss name) wanted to tell me?

Now with that last bit, you empower them and your boss to agree to let you go.
It's still within your frame and your power, and you imply you will go right after, you but also defend her power so you don't make the boss look bad when you suddenly get up.

And with the previous sentence, you also don't make anyone feel like you're demeaning any of them for sitting through that time-waste (albeit you actually do maybe within you, but that's still not necessarily what you want to communicate externally).

Then, before leaving, you acan once again repeat "pleasure meeting you guys, if you need anything, please reach out any time, I'm happy to help".

Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?
12
Processing...