It takes a village
I believe it’s on all of us, every single member of an organization, to hold each other accountable to our shared values and to do the right thing. Full stop.
I doubt that many people would disagree with this statement as written - frankly, it would look really bad to do so, right? Yet, I’ve seen it play out over and over again:
The manager who sees one of his peer’s direct reports doing something a bit strange, but keeps her mouth shut because she doesn’t want to step on someone’s toes.
The CEO who wants to avoid conflict at all costs and collects these observations for a later blow up with his direct reports.
The leader who believes “that’s not MY job” and turns a deaf ear to the SVP who “really ought to know better”.
I get that conflict is hard. It’s really hard to walk up to someone and say “hey, I think you’re out of line with our values”. It’s equally hard to tell your peer that you perceived his direct report to be a bit out of line.
But who among us signed up for something easy? When we sign up to lead and to manage, we know it’s going to be difficult. As leaders, we invest immeasurable resources into sweeping change programs: reset the culture, bolster morale, create alignment. And yet, when it matters most, in the trenches and at the moment, we fail.
We take the easy road, we kick the can, we avoid the difficult conversation or we scurry along to our meeting, and we justify why we didn’t nudge that person at the moment in the right direction.