Over the past week I’ve heard several women comment on statements from male team members that question why the woman is on that team or how they got there. Grrr…. These comments make my blood boil. There was an implied and inherent assumption that the woman couldn’t be qualified to be on the team, despite years of relevant experience and expertise. Fortunately, the women involved had heard it before and quickly put the guy in his place.
My mind then started wandering back the Patrick Lencioni’s “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team” because there seems to be an absence of trust (Dysfunction #1) on these teams. Lencioni uses the word trust in the context of being confident that each team member has good intentions and it’s acceptable to be vulnerable with each other. The phase he uses that resonates for me is “Members of teams with an absence of trust …. Jump to conclusions about the intentions and aptitudes of others without attempting to clarify them.”
When people assume you don’t belong on a team or project because you’re a woman it creates a situation where you can’t trust that others will support you, help you or listen to your ideas. You quickly become the outsider. This impacts the effectiveness of the team as a whole and it can diminish your contribution as well as sapping your confidence.
What can you do if you are in a situation like this? Here are 5 tips:
There will always be those naysayers who want to tear down your right to be in a role. That’s their problem not yours so don’t take it on. To earn the trust of those around you be authentic, do you’re you are there to do, and be professional. Additionally, be firm if someone crosses boundaries and say no to the requests that are not appropriate. Your actions will speak loudly to those around you. What do you want them to say?
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