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Career Monday: The Secret to Staying in the Loop at Work

Whatever your job description says, staying in the loop is a primary responsibility. You need information and knowledge to do your work effectively.

However, there are many reasons why you might wind up on the sidelines. While your employee manual probably tells you how to fill in your time sheet and follow the dress code, it doesn’t mention how to ensure you’re invited to essential meetings and debriefed when you return from business trips.

Discover the secret to keeping current on what’s going on at the office. Use these tips to identify and fix common obstacles to staying in the loop.

Internal Obstacles to Staying in the Loop:

1. Network internally. To see the big picture, you probably need to look beyond your own department. Reaching out to staff members in sales or human resources can show you how your tasks affect each other. Invite someone out to lunch or join them in the break room.

2. Attend meetings. Accept invitations even when your presence is not required. Let others know that you’re interested in upcoming events.

3. Manage projects. Volunteering to coordinate activities helps you stay on top of details. You have a valid reason to confirm whether milestones are being reached and how that affects related deadlines.

4. Contact former colleagues. Ex-employees may feel free to discuss sensitive subjects. Stay in touch.

5. Monitor your industry. Do you keep up with business news in your field? Being informed about downturns or key leadership changes could prevent unpleasant surprises.

6. Share information. The more generous you are with your resources, the more likely others are to reciprocate. Try to be transparent whenever possible.

7. Confirm rumors. The office grapevine may contain some gems, but you need to separate fact from fiction. If appropriate, ask management to clear up the confusion while you keep your eyes and ears open.

8. Be patient. There may be legitimate reasons why some information is confidential. Give others the benefit of the doubt. Instead of taking things personally, work at finding solutions.

External Obstacles to Staying in the Loop:

1. Promote cooperation. Employees might hoard information as a way to protect their turf due to insecurities and competitive pressures. You can help them to relax by encouraging team spirit and demonstrating a commitment to helping others succeed.

2. Appeal to self-interest. For fast results, let your peers know what’s in it for them. Your office mate might give you those figures you’ve been waiting for right away if she knows you’ll finish a report you’re both responsible for.

3. Repair oversights. Is a former buddy giving you a cold shoulder because you forgot to tell them that a project was cancelled? Let them know that you appreciate their efforts and regret how your actions affected them.

4. Find alternatives. Maybe your co-workers are just too busy to give you the status reports you’re hoping for. Be creative about taking another route like checking meeting minutes or reorganizing the work flow.

5. Communicate with your boss. Your supervisor may not realize how much time and energy you waste digging for data to complete your assignments. Collaborate on procedures that make optimum use of your resources, whether it’s weekly calls or daily chats. Treat each other with respect and earn each other’s trust.

Feeling left out can take a heavy toll on job satisfaction and performance. Focus on building an inclusive office culture where each team member has the opportunity to be valued and connected. Staying in the loop will help you to enjoy your work and accomplish more.

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