It seems like every couple of months, female employees across industries are trading stories about organizational culture and “fit.” Far too often, these stories boil down to them not fitting at all.
At a much smaller copywriting shop: clients know intuitively to second-guess their female consultant’s feedback but not question her male coworkers; her supervisor sees no problem except for her.
Catt Small recently laid out the elements of organizational culture on the Automattic blog for staff members and managers who want their offices to be better than average: to be environments that employees run to rather than run from.
Of these contexts, Small writes, “A person is not worth retaining if they cause others to leave.”
But it seems to take an awful lot of people dragging themselves out of these environments before managers seem to be willing to recognize a problem.
I’ve participated in congregations where local leaders have very strong personalities and the community learns to tolerate visitor and member attrition as long as Bro. or Sis. So-And-So is appeased. These congregations certainly don’t operate on Small’s principle that one who causes others to leave is more a liability than a gift.
I’ve begun thinking about the quality of community for a speaking appointment this fall. Naturally that means thinking about ways community fails as well as ways that it can work. What of the person who functions as stumbling block?
I want to know what we can learn from them, and the best possible ways to engage or not engage. I want to know how to do so not just for the collective’s well-being, but also for theirs: I struggle to believe that playing the role of stumbling block does a soul much good, even if we eventually treat their handiwork as muscle-building resistance and grow anyhow.