From the Top, Down

As if there weren’t enough scandals at Uber already, here are just a few headlines from the past week:

A Top Uber Executive Departs, Fraying the Company’s ‘A-Team’

Uber’s CEO Searches for Enlightenment in Company Lactation Room

Uber Weighs Leave of Absence for Chief Executive

Uber’s Travis Kalanick offered sex rules for 2013 party

Regardless of where something bad is happening in a company or who is involved, you have to look at the leadership for clues on what the fuck is going on. Company culture is established at the top and cascades down to the rest of the company. It’s never the other way around.

These are a few bullet points from an email Uber CEO Travis Kalanick sent out to his staff on rules for a company party:

  • Do not throw large kegs off of tall buildings. Please talk to Ryan McKillen and Amos Barreto for specific insights on this topic.

  • Do not have sex with another employee UNLESS a) you have asked that person for that privilege and they have responded with an emphatic “YES! I will have sex with you” AND b) the two (or more) of you do not work in the same chain of command. Yes, that means that Travis will be celibate on this trip. #CEOLife #FML

What a classy guy, that Travis Kalanick.

If you see your CEO conducting himself or herself in a particular way, you’re more inclined to pick up on their behavior in the things you do inside (and many times outside) the company. This idea applies to anyone in a position of power, be it a CEO, a parent, or the President of the United States: they set the tone for how things are conducted, how people are expected to interact with each other, and what is valued.

When Donald Trump calls well-respected news organizations “fake news”, whines on Twitter in the wee hours of the morning like a spoiled 13-year-old girl, and is constantly caught contradicting himself, it gives people permission (incentive?) to act the same way.

That old superhero saying, “with great power comes great responsibility” might feel tired, but it’s true.

The important thing to understand is the values, or lack of values, in the leadership of your country or company might not reflect your own values.

As citizens of a country like the U.S. you have the power to vote for who you think has values that align with your own (this ain’t always easy). When you work for company you potentially have the option to take actions to have a leader removed, or find employment with another company.