We have often heard that the culture of an organization is shaped by how managers create an environment of trust and respect. Apart from the artifacts, espoused values and assumptions at the workplace the role of communication is often undervalued. I am inviting your to reflect on the following conversation (this is a real episode) and share your perspectives on what can be done to improve or rather save the culture of this organization.
Anil, the internal communicator with Insight Ltd., can’t believe what he is seeing or hearing. His team leader Neha is expecting the team to toe her line or get into her bad books. Her tantrums at the workplace have caught other peoples’ attention but they can’t muster courage to let her know how her behavior is impacting the organization. The reason: her affinity to certain leadership within the organization and clout she has garnered.
Every attempt by Anil to prove his worth by delivering quality work isn’t getting him any recognition or brownie points with Neha. His colleague Akash seems to have however got a good measure of what Neha expects. He has often been spotted carrying her bag to her desk and taking his dog to her house on weekends so that her child can play with it.
Anil decides to have a conversation with Akash and find out what is he is really seeing what he is seeing.
Anil: “Hey, not sure if I am getting this – I was hired to bring in fresh perspectives on how we communicate and engage staff but I am not sure people are seeing the value of my work. Am I doing something wrong?”
Akash: “Look. This is how things work – you know how Neha is. She is the leader in the team and her word counts. She has the right people backing her. I would say that she is on a fast track for growth and akin to a locomotive express. I would catch this moving train and be successful. Why rub her the wrong way?”
Anil: “Akash – is this the culture the organization wants to promote? Everyone knows her true mettle and her character. What baffles me is why no one seems to take cognizance?”
Akash: “Culture varies by company. This is how it is here. They may say many things about values and respect but what matters is what the manager does to you. if you are not in her good books you are toast.”
Anil: “That explains why Anita was asked by Lina to dress more like Neha. They want to ape her style! This is ridiculous. Are they even aware of how to effectively communicate internal communication messages? When do they get time to focus on work when they are playing these petty games?”
Akash: “Take a chill pill. I get my share of angry outbursts too from Neha but I learn to live with it. I need to keep my job.”
Anil knows this place isn’t what it spelt out to be and walks back to his desk thinking of his options. He can toe the line but erode his values. He can be the best at work he does and keep his head held high. What should he do?
Think also about:
- Do cultures get shaped by how managers communicate with staff?
- How can organizations ensure some bad apples don’t ruin the culture?
- What can Anil do considering his situation?
Have you registered yet? 2 days to go. Register for upcoming full-day, hands-on workshop Internal Communications 201 – Driving Change and Elevating Your Presence on July 7, 2012 at Bangalore and get crucial answers to make you an effective internal communicator and leader. Contact email@example.com