When was the last time you questioned a decision that your boss made? What was the issue when you last piped up in a meeting to dissent your department’s consensus? Did you decide to placate the executive leaders on a bad call, or did you feel confident enough in your job’s security to point out the pain points that they overlooked in the plan?
For those of us who are lucky enough to have jobs during a pandemic, questioning bad decisions within our company’s leadership is now exponentially harder. With an unemployment rate rocketing to 20%, employees are desperately hanging on to any job security they can. Although the unemployment rate is difficult to accurately calculate when many states’ unemployment agencies cannot handle the surge of people who have lost their jobs. CNBC states that the unemployment rate is probably above 20% and much closer to numbers not seen since The Great Depression.
This perfect storm will jeopardize the productivity and integrity of every organization struggling through 2020. One team of software developers reported that they only pushed back against a recent decision made by executives because of the privilege their secure positions offer them. In an era when most Americans’ jobs are not protected by a union and the COVID death rate and unemployment rates climb each day, the hierarchy of organizations only grows steeper. In a hierarchal organization, there is a pyramid of power and communication channels. In a pandemic where many of us risk becoming homeless and losing our jobs right now, the pyramid grows steeper than ever before. And once companies start making worse decisions because their employees don’t feel free to speak up with dissenting opinions, I worry how this will affect us as consumers. How will placating company leaders out of fear for our jobs create bigger problems in the supply chain than the ones we already face?