The book “The 4 Stages of Psychological Safety” talks about avoiding the gutters of paternalism and exploitation.
What happens when a team grants some respect or permission to its members, but not both—when the pattern of psychological safety moves out of the bowling lane, so to speak, into the gutter on one side or the other?
When a team offers a measure of respect, but very little permission, it falls into the gutter of paternalism.
On the other hand, what happens when a team grants a measure of permission to contribute, but little respect? In this case, the team falls into the gutter of exploitation—a condition in which the leader attempts to extract value while not valuing those who create the value.
I was reminded of the gutters of paternalism and exploitation while reading “10 Things Your Corporate Culture Needs to Get Right”.
- Employees feel respected. Employees are treated with consideration, courtesy, and dignity, and their perspectives are taken seriously.
- Supportive leaders. Leaders help employees do their work, respond to requests, accommodate employees’ individual needs, offer encouragement, and have their backs.
- Leaders live core values. Leaders’ actions are consistent with the organization’s values.
- Toxic managers. Leaders create a poisonous work environment and are described in extremely negative terms.
- Unethical behavior. Managers and employees lack integrity and act in an unethical manner.
- Benefits. Employees’ assessment of all employer-provided benefits.
- Perks. Employees’ assessment of workplace amenities and perks.
- Learning and development. Employees’ assessment of opportunities for formal and informal learning.
- Job security. Perceived job security, including fear of layoffs, offshoring, and automation.
- Reorganizations. How employees view reorganizations, including frequency and quality.
The single best predictor of a company’s culture score is whether employees feel respected at work. Respect is not only the most important factor, it stands head and shoulders above other cultural elements in terms of its importance. Respect is nearly 18 times as important as the typical feature in our model in predicting a company’s overall culture rating, and almost twice as important as the second most predictive factor.
Respect and permission. They are essential to avoiding the gutters and getting corporate culture right.