The worst kind of company culture testing

We have a 10 person team and are expanding rapidly so we take building culture seriously. We talk, we experiment.

My technical lead has been bugging me. Every discussion we have we seem to talk passed each other and we never conclude the same things in the end. A communication problem. Others feel it too, but being an impatient crazy person this just gets on my nerves. I'm fine with him - the communication style we produce is the problem.

While talking about this with some teammates I got myself convinced to write about this to our team chat. What was a "I think we need to work on this" turns into an essay about how this person does stuff wrong. With reluctance I submit the text and add a couple of disclaimers.

Teammates reading this didn't really say anything. So now there's a lot of tension in the air. I mean I feel like being in a microwave. Feels like I want to escape this place. In the letter my reason for being public about this issue is to create an open culture for speaking about stuff. I wasn't expecting it to be so hard on myself.

Also in the letter I asked to have a 1-on-1 meeting with the person and we did. We learnt a lot during it, it was productive. Maybe not solved, we'll see. But point being we got somewhere.

Evening came, we all went home. Now shit really kicked in. I broke down so hard I cried. Doesn't happen often. The pressure was just incredible. Going to the office tomorrow seemed like a punishment - I'd rather get fired. After a long chat with my girlfriend I eventually got over it.

My conclusion is that openness is great, but if it creates a trap for myself then the team effort isn't really worth it. It's not like we'll know how the people reading such a letter feel like anyway. Are they also more open now or perhaps they just feel negative about the whole thing? I don't see much positive to the whole experience. Next time I'll just let the person know I'm having a problem with them and deal with it that way.

Also I must find a way to do these things out of a loving heart, not resentment and anger. Both ways are effective, only one way breeds good culture.

Krister Viirsaar

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