Who are the last men/women standing in the workplace?
My friend Leah Reynolds has recently started a blog and she asks a provocative question in her posting entitled “Who is left at work?” Leah’s first sentence says it all. “Bullies, brown-nosers and broken spirits…Is that all that remains in our workplaces?” I urge each of you to read this post and engage in a discussion: Is her premise an unfair generalization? Is it fair but little can be done about manager’s attitudes since they are being mistreated too? Is this all just whining about reality anyway?
Of dogs in mangers …
Her premise is largely correct from my observation. As our economic crisis has built up, I have witnessed an increase in “dog in the manger” (see wikipedia definition here) attitudes and actions on the part of managers. Examples are attitudes such as, “If I can’t be happy, neither can you”…”I don’t have ulcers, I give them”. Harsh, perhaps but these are eyewitness reports.
… and say/do gaps
We suffer in our business society from an epic say/do discrepancy. We “say” that we favor certain values but we act in a contradictory manner all too often. As examples, we talk about wanting innovation but it has to be “my” innovation. We want to employees to be engaged but on “our” terms not theirs.
What is happening here?
As a boomer myself, I can say with some certainty that we boomers have succeeded in, at worst, chasing out of the workplace or marginalizing, at the least, the traditional values which acted as a restraint on human greed and other objectionable behaviors. So we’ve achieved a world in which “greed is good”, and competition is Darwinian, i.e., driven at an unforgiving pace, with sharp elbows and in your face ruthlessness. Now the reality we’ve created is in our face and we’re thinking: “I didn’t expect this outcome. It must be someone else’s fault, right? We couldn’t have done this, right?” I realize that we may be overgeneralizing here and that there are ethical businesses but are they not in the minority now? I could go on but this should be enough to stir up a good discussion or two. Thoughts?