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Are You on the Inside or the Outside?

The circle. From the outside it looks impenetrable and exclusive. From the inside it feels open and inviting.

Those on the outside cannot figure out how to get in. Those on the inside wonder why they are keeping their distance?

Each feeling that the other isn’t taking action to close the gap and viewing themselves as already doing all they can.

In the workplace, “the circle” can be one of the biggest challenges to adding staff to the team. It’s one thing to give a new employee a desk, a phone and a job description. It’s quite another thing to incorporate them into the working community.

Even the most welcoming of departments will have their own language, their own jokes, their own unspoken rules, expectations and ways of going about their various jobs. These idiosyncrasies of this particular community can take quite a bit of time to pick up. In the mean time, one can feel a stranger in the midst of close friends.

The key to change is being able to get into each others’ shoes. To see and feel from the opposite perspective. Look out from their vantage point and understand their experience.

No matter how open you feel your work community is, if you were aware that a newcomer experiences the rhythms that you most treasure as barriers, you can take steps to intentionally draw them in and show them the ropes. And if you are new to the community and feeling excluded, being aware that their unspoken “rules” and code languages are the precious culture of work that these people have come to love and value can help you exchange the feelings of being left out for feelings of attraction to a new way of being community.

In the other person’s shoes, we see what is not evident from our own perspective. We may find that we all, in fact, want to work together and the circle need not be the barrier that it has been.

Are you on the inside or the outside of the circle? How might your perspective be reframed by taking the other person’s point of view?

On your side,

- Karl

Here's My Thought...

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