Two chaps on the tube next to me this morning, talking about work and process.
“Man, I hate those governance meetings. Going through all those points and minutes. So boring.”
“Well it’s good process isn’t it?”
“Yeah… We get a bonus on our behaviours. You can’t get it just on the numbers any more.
So I’ve started doing little things around the office: opening doors for people, being courteous, helping lift or carry or small things.
Hang back to sort out stuff after meetings.
And my boss is like ‘Oh I’ve noticed your behaviours are really good, this is exactly what we want’ hahah…”
All sounds good?
“It’s such bullshit, man. And they lap it up.”
Oh. So he’s pretending to be a good colleague, but it’s just a mask?
The conversation turns back to governance. He gives his mate a couple of tips on how to get round constraints.
“What programme are you using? Oh yeah what you’ve got to do is…”
He shares how to make it look like you’re doing the right thing.
This young man looks less than thirty years old. In his super-confidence and shiny blue suit he must feel like he has special powers to fool people.
As he got off the tube he was openly rude to a fellow passenger.
Is his cavalier attitude to governance and colleagues a potential ethics hazard for his employer?
Can his manager and HR team see through him?
How do you get past the mask?
360 feedback might pick it up – but comments like “he’s not genuine” or “he’s just a*s*-licking” might not make it through the filter, being seen as personal and subjective.
Better for his manager to set a circumstance where he has to make a good ethical judgment, or support a colleague in a similar way.
How does he react on the spot?
Is he responsive to another team’s needs or a client’s interests?
Or ask him to put himself out, more than holding the door open – something that would take his time, or mean getting on the floor in his shiny suit, or apparently reduce his status (for one task only) to support junior colleagues.
Watch: does he scowl or grouch, momentarily, when no-one is watching? Does the mask go back on after?
Real camaraderie (like good governance) is freely given. And you know, intuitively, when it’s genuine and when it’s for show.
I do hope this young chap’s boss can see through the sham and behind the mask.
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