How To Respond to Being Excluded in the Workplace

October 25, 2022 |

Many people are familiar with the feeling of getting left out, but one place that should never happen is at your job. Learn how to respond to exclusion at work.

Whether you’re left out of meetings, training, or company activities, getting excluded isn’t a good feeling and should never happen at your place of work. And because getting excluded can bring up such negative emotions, it can be hard to remain
neutral and collected. If you’re struggling to figure out how to approach the situation, here’s how to respond to being excluded in the workplace.

Ask Yourself the Right Questions

If you feel you’re getting excluded at work, you might wonder if it’s all in your head. The last thing you want to do is falsely accuse someone due to a misunderstanding. And while it’s true that workplace exclusion is a common example of workplace
retaliation, it isn’t always that extreme. That’s why you need to ask yourself a few questions and be completely honest with yourself.

Is there a chance that this exclusion was an accident? Are your colleagues or employer hesitant to approach you? Was there an interpersonal issue that occurred that may have caused this to arise? While there’s no excuse to get treated
unprofessionally, asking yourself these questions can help you get to the bottom of the situation.

Be Goal Oriented

If you feel like you’ve been purposefully left out, your next step is to decide what you want your end goal to be. Do you want to stay and try to work it out? Will you quit immediately, or will you fly under the radar until you can find a new job? While it’s
never a good idea to be too hasty, no one wants to feel uncomfortable or unwanted at their job, so it’d be understandable if you left. However, if you try to stay and work it out, regardless of whether the exclusion is purposeful, be careful with how you
approach this next step.

Stay Neutral and Repair Harm

Before you approach anyone, you want to set yourself up for success, including setting up a safe environment and practicing what you’re going to say. You may also want to contact your manager or HR, depending on the situation. This way, you can
have someone mediate the conversation and be a witness to it. Additionally, make sure you know what you want to say, why you want to say it, and how you will say it. The last thing you want to do is come across as rude and give someone ammo or a
“reason” to treat you poorly.

If you’ve found the situation was a misunderstanding, it’s time to play damage control. That doesn’t mean punishment or guilt-tripping; it means apologizing, taking accountability, and creating an action plan of what you want your relationship to
become and how to do it.

It takes a community effort to keep a company ticking. Knowing how to respond to
feeling excluded in the workplace is critical to ensuring that you and your coworkers
or on the same page interpersonally.