Department culture: “blanket of fear”

Department culture: “blanket of fear”

From this Denver Post article: “An overwhelming number of employees feel that the leadership has created an environment of suspicion where poor morale overshadows forward momentum,” the report said. “The change in culture has transformed gradually to a point where employees feel demoralized and unappreciated.”

This is a police department, but the report’s indictment of their culture sounds like it could describe a lot of places that employ people full time these days. Take my thoughts with a grain of salt, since I did write a book about this subject, but people’s sense of demoralization really jumps out at me now. It sucks. I feel for people. Yeah, I’m stressed scraping up money freelancing, but I worked in that other world. I’ll take this stress.

The thing that prompted me to post this link is that I’ve recently had discussions with a few people, different companies and industries, and each of these people used the term “police state” when describing their jobs.

This type of culture isn’t healthy. I have to believe that we can do better than this. C’mon. All these new technological innovations people keep bragging about, the new developments in workforce productivity—can’t we use all of this innovative thinking to create company cultures that employees don’t describe as “police states”?

Enough about reality. Let’s talk fiction.

Want to read the first five chapters of Fearkiller? I’d be happy to send you a pdf. E-mail me:

2 thoughts on “Department culture: “blanket of fear”

  1. Chris, great observations. I think the “police state” thinking has come from what I call “management by email and rules.” If there is a problem with an employee, there seems to be a tendency for the person in charge to update some rule or draft a new one and then email it out to the entire team or company along with a BS lecture. The person that is causing the problem ignores the email and doesn’t change, but everybody else gets annoyed and eventually demoralized when this scenario is repeated over and over again (sometimes minus the rule change, just the annoying email lecture that goes to everybody). Whatever happened to getting in somebody’s grill who is screwing around and/or not carrying their weight? Just a thought, take it for what it is worth…

    Shoot me the first five chapters of your book and I will get the rest on my Kindle. Knowing you it has to be good.

    Best regards,

  2. Thanks Tim,

    I sent an e-mail to you. It’s funny you mention that, and I have to put this on here, based on what you’re saying above, it’s from my book, Chapter 4.

    Two characters are talking about what you just mentioned. Our killer is at the doctor getting a checkup:

    Doc: “I bet you regularly receive e-mails full of those silly little doubt-inducing ellipses points,‘…’—”

    “Every day, Doc, in pretty much every e-mail now. It’s to the point where people can’t even have electronic conversations anymore without those causing people to second-guess everything. Like…this…”

    “The Portland Manual of Style states, ‘ellipsis points, or ellipses, indicate hesitation or a broken sentence, often associated with and meant to hint at doubt, insecurity, unsure feelings, and uncertainty.’”

    “Doubt…Insecurity…Unsure Feelings…Uncertainty…I worked for legions of people who turned these into managerial tools. Egan and all those underlings that followed him were pros at using those.They even now come across in people’s voices—”

    “Yes, son! For instance, when a supervisor says, ‘We should have a chat,’ I bet it now comes across infused with subtle undertones, you hear those ellipses when they speak. It’s ‘we…should…have a chat…’ or ‘you don’t seem to be happy to work here…’ ‘Is there a problem?’ becomes ‘Is…there…a problem…?’ They actually teach that delivery in business schools nowadays.Those ellipses…I think of them as verbal sniper bullets for chickenshits. Dot!-dot!-dot!s. See, back in my day, the regular mail day, one would never end correspondence with those doubt-inducing dotdotdots,‘…’You talked through the point you wanted to make—But enough about me, here, this is about you.”

    — Fearkiller, page 19.

    Tim, you and I are thinking alike.

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