Conspiritorial LO teams LO7283

Tobin Quereau (
Tue, 7 May 1996 22:55:09 -0500 (CDT)

Replying to LO7267 --

On Tue, 7 May 1996, Michael Erickson wrote:

> I may be veturing into dangerous waters here, but after reading Tobins
> post I wondered if he has much experience in the lower levels of the
> average organization. While the point of view expressed showed a lot of
> high ideals (which I know are needed if we are ever going to get the
> changes we need) never the less, you can get yourself personally assaulted
> in some work arenas for nievely approaching work in this way. (hey I've
> been...)

You are right to wonder, Michael, just where I have been all of this time!
Aside from a few years as a low level officer in the Army, and about
twelve years in a community college setting, the rest was as a teacher in
a pre-school setting and a counselor. Not much of a proving ground for the
rigors of the business world...

> Regardless of the Vision, Mission, Goals, Objectives stated by the
> company, or the high ideals that appear written in any given companies
> integrity statements you have to face the facts that you will meet people
> who just flat don't like you and will try to hurt you any way they can.
> (sorry, but that is reality)

No argument here.

> A lot of those people end up in management. Since management has
> traditionally been about Control and Power, it draws the control freaks
> and the power hungry. When someone comes along who has a little more open
> mind, or a different experience, or maybe just doesn't fit in with their
> idea of what belongs in "their" social structure, they will oppose them.
> (please recognize I'm not slamming management... I have great managers,
> but I haven't always).
> Since appearances do play a role in how we are judged, putting your
> opponet in a bad light or one of those "hung if you do-hung if you don't"
> situations, you are able to exert power over them. So in order to salvage
> the situation (and stay employed-and able to support your family, pay your
> bills-stay alive etc.) a worker will go underground to do his or her work.
> I know it would be great if you could go to the upper management and work
> out the differences in an open and congenial manner, and in many work
> environments (mine for example) that is exactly what is happening, but not
> in all.

and apparently not in Archie's case, either.

> We need to recognize that there is a dark side to human nature and not
> nievely think we can just go blundering in with all these neat Learning
> Orginization ideas and expect the world to fall at our feet.

I heartily agree with your statement, and I wouldn't want to deny the dark
side or the necessity to protect oneself at times. I realize that in
unhealthy systems, whether organziations or families, the cost of
protection can be quite high.

I guess my main point with all of those different questions was to focus
not so much on what the "opposition" or senior managers were like, but on
what I was sensing in Archie's description itself. I have often found in
the counseling arena and in my own relationships that what I see "out
there" has a remarkable resemblance to what I am struggling with "in here"
without my necessarily noticing the connection. That could easily be an
unwarranted assumption on my part, hence all of the questions.

In any case, while I may be stuck with the managers I've got, I can work
on how I respond to that situation and reduce the ways in which I create,
promote, or allow it to continue. I have also found that such work rarely
causes the world to fall at my feet, but sometimes I can stand a bit
taller as a result of it.

> [thots from a low level staffer]

And one whose posts continually challenge and intrigue me.

Thanks for joining me in the "dangerous waters". Now I look forward to
Archie's response to see if _I_ need a life preserver...


Tobin Quereau

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