Sibling Rivalry

“The biggest problem I have,” Andre complained, “is getting my people to work together. I want them to be like a family. I want them to feel like they belong to a tribe, you know, an extended family.”

“Oh, really,” I looked surprised. “It is a noble feeling to impart to a group of people, to get them to feel like they are part of something bigger than themselves. So, what seems to be the problem in getting them to work together?”

“There always seems to be petty bickering between the personalities. It’s not overt passive-aggressive behavior, but the conversations that end up in my office are petty transgressions. Someone borrowed a stapler and didn’t return it. Someone took a snack out of the company refrigerator. Someone had a bright idea that the group ignored or made fun of. Someone got passed over on a new project. Someone got passed over for a promotion.”

“So, what do you think the problem is?” I asked.

“I think it’s the culture of the group,” Andre nodded.

“And, who sets the culture?” I prompted.

“Ultimately, I set the culture,” he thought out loud. “Funny, I want the group to feel like a family, an extended family, but I end up with sibling rivalry.”

One thought on “Sibling Rivalry

  1. Mike Cardus

    This idea of “family within work” is often an idealistic representation of a family, as-if some platonic form of “the good family” exists and all managers have to do is engage people to move their cheese walking in a minute with 7 habits in the speed of trust starting with why eating last, etc… and a patriarchal dream will come into being. This is not what happens, families are tough. Families fight and bicker and hurt each other… I’m glad I don’t have a family at work … it would be exhausting!
    Can’t we just eliminate these ideals let people be themselves and remove idealistic management dreams?


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