“Amid allegations that employees claim were triggered by years of allegations that her leadership and her tone were creating a toxic culture, Xyratex’s CEO Dr. Sehat Sutardja has decided to step down.”
In a Q&A on their website employees called upon the board to reconsider the way the company is being run. The post said:
As true human beings, we all strive for what is good for everyone. That is especially true for young entrepreneurs. The reality is that a business and a workplace of 20 employees don’t need an audience of over 300 employees and thousands of employees.
There is an incredibly rigid emphasis on corporate management style. When you have to make decisions under high-pressured circumstances, most people find that their default position is to defer to more experienced professionals. And those more experienced professionals don’t want to make any mistakes, for fear of their careers taking a nosedive or of losing the respect of those who report to them. It is easy to see why many people might resent these roles or tolerate these practices. But their impacts on the surrounding culture are really pretty damaging.
The culture is also cultivated by the decision to confine employees to specific roles. By clearly delineating ‘out of bounds’ behaviors (eg bullying, personal misconduct) these changes in culture greatly reduce the likelihood that bad behavior will be exposed or corrected in its early stages. Having too many people scrutinizing every move is also destructive to the culture. These practices are allowed to pervade until eventually, employees and customers, family and friends perceive the culture as one that is not good, and when this happens, people demand change.
Within this framework, business leaders should be wary of defining company values, because virtually any company’s values are only as strong as the people inside it. Whether it is quoting ‘lunch & learn’ or ‘no problem,’ phrases that convey respect and understanding of the people whom you are tasked with serving is essential to fostering a healthy culture. It also helps build a team mentality and a sense of community. You should be actively recruiting for people with these traits because it shows you have a positive vision for the future.
Most people hate making tough decisions. But when faced with a difficult situation, people will try and think of ways to mitigate their pain and to avoid the matter at all costs. But sometimes, they just need a little push to make the decision they haven’t really been thinking about. They may not even want to, but their morale is low, and they are feeling hopeless. Trying to talk people into something good can only take you so far. When you are stuck or pushed to the point of despair, one of the only things that will motivate you is fear. And that fear can take on a life of its own, tricking you into focusing on an action that no longer makes sense.
Creating a positive team culture is one of the most difficult and important tasks you can take on as a leader. Your actions can be a microcosm of your company’s culture. You don’t need anyone to ask you. You can decide by just deciding.