Skip to main content

Shameless Organizations

June 14, 2020

There are many books and articles written differentiating between machines and people. An organization is a group of people. People are not machines or components, they have values, feelings, perceptions, opinions and motivation. An organization is not a physical entity but a network of people. Without those people the organization doesn’t exist.

Yet, the people are being treated as machines, their dignity is not valued and they have been ashamed for not performing well, similar to replacing a machine part. Have you ever seen improvement in an individual’s performance when he/she was publicly shamed in front of his/her colleagues? It creates disengagement, the individual starts looking for a new job and becomes shameless towards his/her current work. If an organization has a culture of publicly shaming its people, I call it a Shameless Organization. They are not ashamed of the way they treat their people.

We all have faced the trauma of been shamed by someone in our school, college, family or job. How was the experience? Did we feel better or motivated after that? Never. It is always such a guilt feeling that people loose confidence in whatever job they do. There are cases where individuals have attempted suicide. Shaming hurts to everyone – be a kid or a professional worker. You may have heard many horror stories from your friends and colleagues about job switching because of the shaming culture in their organization.

Your role as a leader in the organization is to create an environment where people are being treated as people. A shaming culture is something similar to termite in your house. It is hidden in the culture and eating away organization talent, values, customers, revenue. Shame builds fear and it kills trust. It doesn’t mean that those who are not performing well can be ignored and you should not do anything. However, there may be a better way of treating them.


1.    Encourage an honest conversation about the work progress without getting into blame game

2.    Train your managers and employees about the danger of shame culture

3.    Avoid using Shame as a management tool in your organization for getting better performance.

4.    There is nothing called leading by fear. Be respectful to your people and put their dignity as the highest value.

5.    Bring transparency across the floor and make them accountable for the results. Be there to support them in achieving their goals.


We cannot control individual’s behaviour however we can build a culture where bad behaviour is not tolerated and we are protecting what matters most - Human Being 


Source - Servant Leadership in Action by Ken Blanchard & Renee Broadwell

What did you think about this post?