I am a 34-year-old, minority male, who works in the field of education. At the beginning of each semester, our department head plans a meeting for everyone to share their ideas for our team to be more successful. My ideas are either ignored, or often, are slightly rephrased by another person and presented as theirs.
I used to be able to laugh it off, but lately, I have been feeling angry about never being acknowledged. I am open to your suggestions on how to handle this more effectively.
I can well understand your frustration. Unfortunately, the problem that you describe is one that causes many minorities a lot of anger and resentment. The key to being an effective leader in this type of environment, is to proactively develop a strategy that will allow you to be true to who you are.
Here are my ideas for working and thinking more strategically:
- Share your ideas before the meeting, with people who will give you their honest feedback on the information you are presenting. Anything that can be packaged, can be sold. So, perhaps you need to tighten up your message.
- Hand out a clear, succinct, typed list of three ideas that you are sharing with your department members.
- Volunteer to assist your department head or to be a member of the team that narrows down which ideas are ones to implement.
- Praise others for their ideas.
- Practice being a more effective listener and ask questions.
- Plan something special for the semester meeting—such as bringing in donuts, or a small gift for the attendees.
- Set the intention to come in each day and be fully present in being joyful. It is easy to undermine your career by coming into work with an invisible chip on your shoulder that others pick up on. Joy acts like a magnet, and when you operate in this energy field, it draws other to you.
- Develop a group of male associates and or friends that you can consistently share your feelings concerning your work challenges.
The other area that I want to suggest you work on, is paying attention to your own self-talk. We often block our ability to think strategically, when we stay stuck in our minds, constantly replaying what has happened to us in the past.
Read this short excerpt from my book, Intuition: The Hidden Asset Everyone Should Learn to Use, from “Chapter 10,” which is on the male species:
“The underlying need for men to be strong often makes it difficult for them to seek outside counsel when they have a problem. And often when they do seek advice, it is often hard for males to be fully present and listen, making it easy for them to stuck in the mindset that they have to be right.”
It is not unusual for many minorities to feel they are involved in a knock-down, drag-out fight to prove their worth at their jobs. What blocks many of us from being happy is that we base our lives on what others say and do to us. We need to learn to be more proactive in developing a strategic life plan. If things do not change, we have the option of either leaving a job that is eating away at our soul, or learning to direct our energies in a life purpose that fulfills us outside of our professional career.
Finally, circulate outside of your comfort zone with people in your department and get to know them outside of work.
(Image: Sheree Franklin-Hill)
Intuitive Life Strategist Sheree Franklin helps people to find the courage to release their life challenges in order to live in alignment with their true self.
She is the author of Intuition: The Hidden Asset Everyone Should Learn to Use.