Does Your Company Have a Culture of Quiet Retaliation?
I read an amazing piece in the Harvard Business Review. Does Your Company Have a Culture of Quiet Retaliation?
Quiet forms of retaliation are incredibly common and can be contagious in the workplace. The organizations that accept this form of retaliation as a standard practice have difficulty hiring and retaining great people. Retaliation — in all its forms — harms current team members and a culture that tolerates retaliation results in harm to the mission and the organization’s ability to deliver to its customers and stakeholders. To create cultures where psychological safety is the norm, innovation thrives, and team effectiveness is high, it’s critical to address the retaliation that happens in the shadows.
Here are some examples of covert retaliation:
- Withholding coaching, feedback, or professional development opportunities
- Withholding resources for a project or division
- Intentionally giving a challenging assignment with little support or giving a challenging assignment that’s destined to fail
- Discouraging others from listening to or valuing a team member’s voice, expertise, or contributions
- Excluding a team member from essential meetings or withholding information that’s essential to their job function
So, what do you do to prevent or mitigate Quiet Retaliation?
Identify your shadow intentions.
- Shadow intentions are when we act (consciously or unconsciously) from a place of ego and self-protection. In what ways have your thoughts or actions been intended to hurt a team member through covert or passive methods?
Explore your in-group/out-group.
Assess your thoughts and assumptions about those around you. Who gets to be honest with you, even disagree with you? Whose opinions do you value? Why? Whom do you struggle with? What commonalities exist between the people in your in-group versus your out-group?
Challenge yourself to curiously ask and courageously answer: What am I doing or not doing that’s getting in the way of a safe culture?
Organizations are defined by what they celebrate and what they tolerate. Leaders who engage in or tolerate retaliation can create lasting scars on individuals and organizations alike. The humans we serve deserve better.