I had a great revelation recently after working through some team tension. My first reaction was to furrow my brow and think dark thoughts. Picture a Peanuts cartoon character with a black scribble mark above their head.
Now I’m normally an extremely positive person so it had me wondering where I picked up this behavior.
The answer came pretty quickly. I learned this behavior during my employment childhood from some of the CEOs that I worked for. I’ve always wanted to run a business so I paid extra attention to the chiefs in my past.
As I gain confidence and experience running a ship, I realize that I’ve probably observed just as many bad behaviors as good. Here are a few I cringe at:
- How does the CEO react when someone messes up? Status quo is to write an emotional note and CC the hell out of it.
- How does the CEO react when someone offers an idea? Cock their head sideways, were you talking? We’ve got this covered.
- How accessible is the CEO? She’s not. Follow the chain of command.
Sound familiar? I hope not, but it has been the top down cultural I’ve experienced from many previous companies. To be fair, I’ve had a few positive experiences too.
Culture rolls down from above. So can dark thoughts and bad behavior.
This is a challenging realization. It means I have to check myself to make sure I’m reacting how I really want to and not just how I’ve been “taught.” I reject that list above, but if I’m not careful, I can allow the stress of the moment to derail my mission to create an un-agency, an un-company.
The action to be taken here is to make a conscience effort, a deliberate effort break out of the cycle and ensure this is the best company we’ve all ever worked at.