The former Head of People at Lever, Jennifer Kim, tweeted recently:
Tweet/ There are two types of tech company cultures: Type 1: “results-oriented” leaders => aggression is coded into the culture, conflict runs rampant (e.g. Uber, Amazon) Type 2: “nice” leaders who avoid healthy conflict => culture of false consensus/passive-aggression (everyone else) /End
Speaking in absolutes is a useful strategy to help ideas spread on Twitter, so I’m willing to ignore her false dichotomy here and assume she was merely trying to illustrate each end of the spectrum. Fair enough.
But it’s how she illustrated this that I found so telling.
There are two types of company cultures…1: Results oriented leaders, 2: Nice leaders.
This equivalency, that the leader = the culture, is dead on. Intentional or Freudian slip, Jennifer illustrated one of the hardest truths for many leaders to grasp:
No matter what you write on the wall, what you yourself do will drive company culture.
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