I don’t have enough fingers and toes to count the number of clients whose work environments had employees steeped in a culture of “throwing each other under the bus.”
In my previous professional life of professional baseball I never heard that phrase, at least not in any of the small business environments in which I worked.
But, companies with low trust work environments seem to gravitate towards me in my present business, I guess.
Recently, I began thinking again about the differences between sports teams and business teams.
In doing so I realized that no matter how bad a team is losing, or how far a team is from first place or winning a championship, players rarely throw each other under the bus while the game is being played.
Between the white lines everyone plays to win and everyone supports each other to get the job done.
- Why isn’t it that way in business?
- Why do employees feel a need to throw their teammates, “under the bus?”
Based on my experience of studying low trust work environments I’d say there are 3 reasons for this:
- Real and imagined insecurity – individuals may feel threatened by others whom they perceive as performing better or may have more education or skills. There are also some people who just have low self-confidence and self-esteem and no matter now much reassurance one is given, they don’t believe it.
- Lack of Clear Expectations, Roles, Responsibilities – a person is not provided clear responsibilities and accountabilities, so they feel uncertain in their role.
- Organization plays favorites and offers inconsistent feedback – there is a history of favoritism that many in the organization have experienced and through the informal communication networks stories get passed down and through the organization’s culture.
All three of those scenarios create uncertainty and doubt in a work environment causing individuals to feel threatened. When human beings feel threatened they go into survival mode and will do things that will move them towards protecting their territory.
Work environments where “throwing other’s under the bus” is a common theme are guaranteed to be under-performing. The focus and energy that should be applied to serving each other, serving customers and producing high quality products goes towards conniving, scheming and figuring out how to undermine teammates, or to CYA.
Additionally, when new hires come on board they are provided with minimum information necessary to contribute forcing them to always go to and/or through the veterans to get things done creating an informal information hierarchy that can be extremely inefficient, and frustrating, way to operate.
Why do these type of cultures not exist in sports? I believe its because there are three specific strategies that sports teams focus on virtually 100% of the time.
They are The 3 Strategies of Champion Organizations.
But, of course, whether a team performs at a championship caliber level, or not, the energy of all members of the team are focused on those three strategies, which include:
- A championship vision and strategy
- Personnel and performance management
- Leadership and teamwork development
If you’d like to learn more about how to create a work environment that can eliminate unhealthy competition and low trust you will want to download for FREE The 3 Strategies of Champion Organizations” report here
Do you have any experience in work environments where employees regularly “threw each other under the bus?” If so, please leave a comment and let me know what your experience has been and other insights for my subscribers to learn how to turn it around.
’til next time, make it a great week!