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Angelique
Angelique

Posted on • Originally published at angeliqueweger.com on

Leading with humanity

On January 6, like so many other Americans, I watched a scary and violent thing unfold in our nation’s Capitol. Because I watched things happening in real time on my screen—on the PBS News Hour livestream, but also in people’s responses in Twitter and various community Slacks—I was aware that, in addition to the immediate stressful events, there was also an undercurrent of “How am I supposed to work through this?”

Scene from Sorry To Bother You. Black man sits with a headset on while chaos goes on behind him: People yelling, papers flying.

This extra layer of anxiety as people watched dramatic events unfold was particularly frustrating to me because it suggests organizations and teams struggling with humane leadership—which I would have thought 2020 gave us ample opportunities to practice.

That night, after the Capitol had been reclaimed but before the final electoral votes had been tallied, I tweeted out:1

I wasn’t prepared for the deluge of info that came my way, but was heartened to hear so many stories from folks who felt cared for by their managers, who were inspired by their leadership’s clear and thoughtful responses. Not everyone was doing business as usual, and I needed that kind of good news to buoy me.

Over the next several days, I gathered up the details as they were shared and tweets and DMs, hearing about the responses from over 200 companies and have published a full list of the info I received here.

see the data

Some notes about this data #

This is not meant to be a list of Good Companies™️. This list is not definitive proof that these companies are good places to work now or in the future.

So, what is this then? This is, specifically, a list of companies where an employee felt treated humanely enough on January 6th to reach out to me and let me know about it.

To me, that is a data point. It is interesting and worthwhile, but it also shouldn’t be overstated. It’s one employee’s experience at a very specific time. In some (most?) cases, the company leadership may not have even made any statement, but an individual’s manager or team lead did.

How to use this data if… #

You’re looking for your next team #

If you’re job hunting, I’ve added a filter for if the company is currently hiring (again, data valid as of this blog post) and a link to their current openings. There is also this separate view of that data filtered to companies that are currently hiring. (You’re welcome. Searching for your next job is grueling, so I hope this gives you a little help.)

Additionally, when you’re interviewing with any team, ask what management and leadership did to respond on January 6th. Ask what accommodations they’ve offered as employees have transitioned to working from home due to COVID. Ask what the organization’s commitment is to racial justice (as well as how that is being tracked!) and if Juneteenth is a company holiday.

More resources #

You’re a team lead or manager #

Did your company respond humanely to the events of January 6th? What about the BLM protests of May 2020? If you can’t answer “hell yes!” then accept that you have work to do. (No one ever says “hell maybe!”)

Start having conversations with your company’s leadership and your peers about how to do better. Ask why no one said anything during those events and if that silence is in line with your company values. Ask your direct reports about what would help them. Ask them to be specific and then let them know when you’ll be able to report back about outcomes. Let them know you want them to hold you accountable.

Also, note that suggesting PTO and sharing resources—the very metrics I use in my data—are meant to be a baseline, not a goal post. Telling folks they can take time off, but not letting them know that deadlines and other obligations will flex accordingly isn’t really helping.

Also, ask yourself: Do I need permission to speak up about this? I had been in my current role for less than a year when I started sharing antiracist reads and my Juneteenth donations in a company channel. These weren’t common or comfortable conversations, but who am I waiting for to get us to a better place? What am I willing to risk to make lives better for the people I care for?

More resources #

In closing #

We need more folks who are leading with their heart, not just during a pandemic and a coup, but for all times. Companies and leaders love to say that their teams are like a family, but then your boss wants your updated TPS reports when a damn coup is going down.

Companies do not have be like families to be run and organized as if they depend on human beings. I implore you to look at your current organization, your current team and think about what could be improved in this regard to make your work together more humane.

Your worth is not determined by your productivity.

Finally, extra special thanks to everyone who replied to my tweet, publicly or privately, for making this list possible. Let your team leads, managers and CEOs know what they did right this month.

  1. I wasn't the only thinking about this. Liz Fong-Jones created a Twitter poll with disappointing results and Dr. Nneka D. Dennie asked a similar question about universities.

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