Editor’s Note: As an avid reader of organizational behavior and leadership studies, I am a great fan of writings on organizational effectiveness and semi-regularly write and highlight articles on areas around this topic. Today’s post shares extracts from three articles that address organizational behavior and leadership challenges through the lens of culture, marginalization, and innovation. These challenges are relevant to those in any work environment, including the eDiscovery ecosystem, as they can adversely impact the actions of people and productivity of organizations.
Supercharging Your Firm’s Culture: From Stress to Resilient
An extract from an article by Anne E. Collier, JD, published by the Legal Executive Institute
Have you ever noticed how some lawyers are unflappable while others broadcast stress? We’d all like to be or work with the former — not so much the latter. Now let us consider how lawyers’ behavior, and in particular, firm leaders’ behavior, affects culture.
A firm’s culture is the sum of how its lawyers and staff work together and how they treat each other when under stress. A firm’s culture is, therefore, the atmosphere that emerges as a consequence of behavior, especially the behavior of the firm’s leaders. This is because the behavior of leaders is the single most important factor in shaping a firm’s culture. Culture is determined by the degree to which leaders are resilient or reactive, and act in a manner that belies their fears and stress.
This is “self-actualization”, living to one’s highest potential because of an ability to operate well when faced with difficulties. “Operate well” means that the person remains objective and chooses not to succumb to fear, which would adversely affect colleagues. The person is optimistic, resilient, effective, and solutions-oriented when faced with difficulties. This behavior creates a great culture.
How to Succeed When You’re Marginalized or Discriminated Against at Work
An extract from an article by Alan Henry published in The New York Times
Unfair treatment in the workplace often comes in the form of “microaggressions” — subtle actions that undermine a person and are often explained away by forgetfulness, ignorance, or anything but the malice that usually inspired them. (Like the colleague who conveniently decided he deserved credit for my work, for example.)
When people who have been treated this way decide to speak up about it, they’re usually told to consider the intentions of the aggressor instead of the action, or to consider that maybe the issue isn’t as bad as they think, or not significant enough to warrant corrective action. Worse, they may be told that the event didn’t happen at all.
Whether you think you’re being gaslit by a co-worker trying to get away with treating you poorly, or a boss who would rather not confront bad behavior, trust your experiences and your interpretations of those experiences.
When I asked Ruchika Tulshyan — author of “The Diversity Advantage” and founder of Candour, an inclusion strategy firm — what to do if a co-worker’s bad behavior falls in that gray space between “openly marginalizing you” and “quietly hoarding the best work,” she acknowledged that it’s a tricky situation to address. But providing proof — your own, or someone else’s — can remove doubt.
5 Things Leaders Do That Stifle Innovation
An extract from an article by Kerry Goyette
Derailers are the characteristics that impede innovation. We believe they result from unhealthy coping mechanisms that many of us develop in childhood and fail to shed as adults. They tend to fly under the radar because our fear of failure often spurs us to avoid confronting them. But if we don’t do the work to identify what our derailers are, they chip away at our effectiveness over time.
The most detrimental, and common, derailers we identified in our study are:
- Unconscious neglect: a tendency toward carelessness and impulsivity, such as sending work before it’s ready or rushing to send responses that come across as uncaring.
- Overprotectiveness: reserving your best work and being reluctant to share achievements for fear that your ideas will be stolen.
- Overconfidence: leaning on your ego and willpower rather than asking for help, even when you need it.
- Overexertion: pushing yourself beyond reasonable limits.
- Devaluation: taking success for granted and under-appreciating relationships and resources out of an urge to pursue “the next new thing.”
On a small scale, these derailers are fairly unobtrusive. But when leaders exemplify or encourage this kind of behavior on a regular basis, it can have an avalanche effect. Our study reveals that derailing tendencies often result in failure on the individual level — no matter how many positive qualities someone possesses — which, if unaddressed, will eventually affect the performance of the team at large.
There are ways, however, you can mitigate derailers to foster innovation and entrepreneurial mindsets among your team members.
- Gaslighting: Litigation, Manipulation, and Projection
- Blue-Sueded? Considerations for Decision Making
- I Me Mine: Two Cogent Commentaries on Credit and Collaboration in the Workplace
- Workplace Bullying: Definitions, Demographics, and Destructiveness