Time to Change the Way Instructions are Given

A friend was recently headhuntered to work for a very well-known organization here in Singapore and was shocked to find that what was projected of the organization to the public is as different as night and day compared to what actually happens inside the organization.

Besides being a bloated bureaucracy with disparate systems and processes, one extremely glaring – and unprofessional – behavior stands out, and that is: management yells at people. The entire organization operates like the military with VPs shouting at the top of their voices at directors. When frustrated or when they are not being understood, (often due to their inability to communicate clearly), those in leadership positions would holler and scream even louder as though being loud will ensure that they will be better understood.

I have worked with many organizations over the past three decades and often, just walking into the office is enough for me to sense the type of organization culture permeating in there.

Some cultures are simply toxic. Strategy may be important, but culture, as they say, “eats strategy for breakfast.” Culture is “the way we do things around here.”

But the culture of any organization is usually determined by the worst behavior its leader is willing to tolerate. I wonder if the CEO of this organization is aware of his shouting and shrieking VPs. Perhaps he is one helluva screamer himself, and that sets the tone? Behavior modeling at work?

No matter how smart, or cool, or rich or powerful you think you are, how you treat people says it all. Start yelling at me, and in my mind, you are immediately a persona non grata. Period.

And idiots like you are the reason why people leave. People don’t quit companies, they quit bosses.

I encouraged my friend to consider leaving before he dies a premature death.

No job is worth dropping dead over.

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry once said if you want to build a ship, don’t yell at people to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather inspire them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.

Isn’t that awe-inspiring?

I wish my friend’s bosses know that.