You show up daily for work and do your job. One day you notice that you’re no longer invited to meetings or included on internal memos or kept abreast of upcoming changes. You realize that you don’t have the information or knowledge to do your work efficiently – you’re no longer in the loop.
There are many reasons why you might wind up on the sidelines. Maybe you’ve stopped making small talk with co-workers or taking part in office gatherings because you feel overloaded with work, or just have too much going on in your personal life.
Use the following tips to help identify and fix common obstacles to staying in the loop:
- Look beyond your section or department to see the big picture. Carve out some time and reach out to internal staff members with lunch invitations or make time for small talk during breaks.
- Volunteer. Even though you may already feel overloaded, find a way to attend meetings where your input could be helpful or offer to coordinate activities to help you stay on top of details.
- Connect with former colleagues. A former employee or contractor could provide helpful insight on office politics, upcoming changes, etc. Keep in touch.
- Stay abreast of industry trends. Help prevent unpleasant surprises by staying informed about downturns or key leadership changes in your industry.
- Share information. Be transparent whenever possible. If you are generous with your resources, others are more likely to reciprocate.
- Confirm rumors. The office grapevine may contain some gems, but you need to separate fact from fiction. Keep your eyes and ears open.
- Be patient. There may be good reasons why some information is being kept confidential. Give others the benefit of the doubt. Work at finding solutions rather than taking things personally.
Other Factors That May Keep You from Staying in the Loop
- Other employees may be feeling insecure. Sometimes, hoarding information is used as a protective measure due to insecurities and competitive pressures by other employees. Help them relax by encouraging team spirit and demonstrating a commitment to helping others succeed.
- Make sure it’s evident that you’re a team player. Your co-workers may be more willing to assist you if they feel that you’ll do your part in creating a win-win situation.
- Fix misunderstandings. If a former buddy is giving you the cold shoulder now due to a miscommunication, let them know that their efforts are appreciated and how you regret that your actions may have affected them.
- Look for alternatives. If your co-workers are also busy and can’t (or won’t) give you the information you’re seeking, get creative and take another route; check meeting minutes or reorganize the workflow, if possible.
- Communicate. Find ways to collaborate on procedures that make optimum use of your resources, whether it’s weekly calls or daily chats with co-workers and/or your supervisor. Earn each other’s trust and treat each other with respect.
Feeling left out of the loop can take a heavy toll when it comes to job satisfaction and performance. All team members should have the opportunity to feel valued and connected. Build and maintain internal and external relationships. Staying in the loop will help you have a more enjoyable work environment and accomplish more.