A culture of fear

That’s what we’ve got where I work. People are always trying to cover their backs and keep their heads down, to stay out of the line of sight. It’s not pleasant at the best of times. For me, I report directly into the ‘c-team’ so there’s no hiding for me. It makes me a little bit cautious when discussing things in a ‘public’ forum. This week I had the less than pleasant task of running a meeting at the request of my c-level boss. It was always going to contain frustrations, strong views and some frayed tempers, but I didn’t quite expect it to get personal the way it did.

With a number of people coming from far away, there was much discussion about improving communications, and getting things done in a more collaborative manner. That’s no issue at all. I think we would all welcome improvements across all of the team, no-one’s denying it. The difficulties arrived when during a heated discussion fingers were pointed at specific people, comments such as ‘you’re to blame’, ‘it’s your fault’ and ‘you should have done more’ were mentioned. It became very personal. Very. Trying to steer things in a neutral way didn’t help either – it seemed to escalate the level of frustration among the attendees.

There’s no denying the facts. Business isn’t what it once was. But it is just that – business. Don’t make it personal. Don’t point fingers. Yes, we have a culture of fear, but don’t try to score points on a personal level. You never know when it might backfire in your direction.

I believe in karma, do you?

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