Starting something new is a bit like regressing in age and revisiting your first kindergarten. You’re learning where things are, how everything works and who does what.
The other hidden lessons are related to those friends or foes your new colleagues. What was interesting this week, as I ran through the gauntlet of introductory meetings was the various levels of helpfulness I encountered along the way.
A general measuring stick was how quickly someone followed through on sending documents that he or she mentioned during a given session. Men, I’m disappointed to say, were frighteningly prompt about sending through attachments that might be helpful as related to their particular areas. Why was I disappointed by the collegiality of my male counterparts? Because most of the women I dealt with were either standoffish or missing from their offices. Perhaps you feel this gender differential is unfair of me.
Okay, so let’s take another one, ethnicity. Why was it that on the whole, non-Europeans were the ones who stood up when I walked in the room, offered their hands, and also something to drink, during the course of a meeting? When the subject of another office or colleague came up, as happened in nearly all of these instances, why did the non-Euros tell me who to see but walk me to my destination?
Perhaps you now feel that ethnicity is also an unfair divider in the grand scheme of how to understand people, their motivations, and behavior.
I’m open. How can we account for the difference in warmth of reception and degree of helpfulness or interest across three days of consecutive meetings?
Have you noticed similar variations in your own workplace? Is it a question of style or lack of professionalism?