Entering a Room

Sometimes there is much to be learned from a very short story.  Here is such an account.  It was told by an impressive woman teaching a principle of great practicality.
“I left industry to take a senior position in the government and I felt a little insecure.  In my first assignment, I was asked to go to a meeting and make input.  I walked into the room.  At the main table, every seat was filled by a man.  The few women in the room sat in a circle around the outside.  I was disoriented and I took a deep breath.  I then picked up a chair from the outside circle and walked to the table.  I motioned for two men to move and make space.  I inserted the chair and sat down.  For a moment, there was a sense of shock in the room.  Then people seemed to shrug their shoulders and the meeting went on.”


  • Why was she disoriented?
  • Why did the deep breath matter?
  • How might this story be important in your life?
  • How could we use this passage to create a more positive organization?

One comment on “Entering a Room

  1. I believe the disorientation came from failing to see anyone who looked like her/her gender at the table. The deep breath was important to provide time to assess the situation and decide on her best move. She was asked to provide input and would be less likely to be heard if she was literally “not at the table”.

    Because I am a leadership coach, I can use this story as I coach both genders to notice and invite others to the table. Positive organizations need to pay attention to all people being welcomed and heard.

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