- Leandro Herrero - https://leandroherrero.com -

In organizations, self-inflicted pain and negative thinking are not personal. The infection works like passive smoking.

I was once part of a team discussion in which one of the participants, Peter, managed to put the words uncertainty, anxiety, discomfort, tension, worried, not aligned, ambiguity, lack of trust, and uncomfortable in one single paragraph. Just like here. And it was repeated. And repeated. That was the repertoire of emotions that Peter saw as widespread around that particular project.

Except that not many people agreed. I know that, because I know that team. And the project. It has zero of this. But nobody said anything. I was expecting to hear the challenge, but nobody tried.

The problem is that, ‘unchallenged’. Left to its own devices, the statement is self-inflicted toxicity, unnecessary self-harm and emotional pollution.

But, then, I thought, perhaps there are reasons why the End of The World was left unchallenged. One could be that ‘everybody knows Peter’, so the expectation is that he, Peter, says this kind of thing whether we are talking about saving the world, hitting milestones or the inaccuracy of the weather forecast.

So Peter keeps being Peter, and just because we all have a glimpse of a mini-apocalypse coming, we should not worry, we should ‘accept Peter’.

Another reason is that Negative Public Ventilation is simply a ritual. It is expected, whether from Peter, John or Mary. It is part of the glue; the ‘we have a problem glue’ which has zero to do with whether we have a problem or not.

Wearing my behavioural hat I suggest it is imperative to challenge Peter, whether Peter is just playing Peter, or playing the ritual’s shaman. These days you are not in a closed office when somebody is smoking a cigarette and you say, well, it’s just one cigarette, and it’s John, we know about John. Most likely it will be zero tolerance.

We need to apply the same to the apocalyptic rituals. No good just opening a little window, and hope for the smoke to go. Plain and simple, challenge it. Peter, why are you saying that? This is not how I see it? Is anybody else seeing the same?

Air, fresh air, not air freshener, deodorant or vanilla smelling candles.

Peter, explain please.