Loyalty to the Absent
Early in his tenure at Google, longtime Chief People Officer Laszlo Bock recounts in his book Work Rules!, he wrote an email to his manager complaining about someone else on the team.
Laszlo’s boss added the person to the email string.
Laszlo quickly reached out directly to the person and together they resolved the issue.
When someone writes a nasty email about someone else, the practice of adding the person to the email thread is part of Google’s commitment to transparency.
It’s also an example of what Steven Covey calls “loyalty to the absent” which he believes is an important driver of workplace culture.
One surefire strategy to reduce office politics is to make it a norm to not say anything about another person that we wouldn’t say if they were sitting in the room beside us.
This practice will reduce the drama in our personal lives, too.
Reflection: How often do I say negative things about someone else when they are not present?
Action: Stop it.