These notes were used in raising an issue about a relatively toxic work place. You may use them if they are of any assistance.
I need to be very careful how I put this, because I do not want to create unnecessary drama, especially when/if it is not warranted. I am unsure if this is actually what I am doing, as I have not explicitly spoken about this to anyone and may be under-prepared or overreacting.
Why did I raise this issue?
Although raising this issue is somewhat in my self-interest, it is also something that others have raised with me in private. Personally I have felt uncomfortable not only for myself but for others also.
Caveat / need to emphasise:
- I am not talking about systemic work place bullying
- I am not pointing the finger at any one particular person.
Instead, what I am talking about is attempting to attain a culture of collaboration and support, which we are losing a bit of at our company. By this I mean one that supports employee self-esteem and confidence, rather than denigrate or disparage employee’s as a method or as habit.
I could and should give examples,
- A person may make a mistake and privately admit it to a senior engineer. This person is likely to be publicly lampooned and shamed. Although typically done sarcastically, the effect can sometimes be damaging to that person’s reputation and confidence, affecting how they are treated in future by fellow employees.
- A person may make a mistake and talk to another team member about it. Depending on the person, this mistake will then be gossiped about in the ‘chat rooms’. This then causes the person to feel ostracized and they may even be treated differently by fellow employees following that event.
- If a person has experienced both of these situations, it is possible for their reputation and confidence to be permanently marred; they will be singled out as an example of failure or used as a scape goat for others mistakes. Their reputation for making mistakes may be deserved, but what I am attempting to address is the environment that person then find themselves in. They are in effect singled out, with what seems as few options for redress or places to turn. Given the nature of their isolation, they have no choice but to remain silent and accept their situation.
The problem is that:
— this sort of culture spreads and can intensify if not spoken about.
— the person may choose to not speak about mistakes, and keep them hidden, or feel that they need to consistently defend themselves otherwise they will lose their colleagues respect.
— mistakes can be seen as failures of the person, rather than lessons to be learned
— colleague collaboration and team morale can be adversely affected.