All any of us want is to do good work. We want to solve interesting problems with good people. This is easier said than done for some people. Kim Scott puts forth 6 issues that can cause untold damage for some people while others think everything is rosy in the garden. Just Work covers what issues need to be addressed and how to address them. Everything from bias, unwanted physical contact to prejudice and bullying. Heavy topics but this book covers them with a really deft expert touch. The author draws on her own experiences to point out issues that some are not aware of but definitely should be aware of. Scott talks about 4 roles and responsibilities as a framework for identifying and dealing with workplace injustice.
1. Person harmed – the first thing to understand is that communication is complex so there are questions to asked to ensure you are giving yourself the best opportunity to assess the situation correctly. The person that is causing you harm – are they simply blind to the fact that they are causing harm? Is it a power play? Do they have bias? The answers to these questions will inform your response.
2. Upstander – as opposed to a bystander. This is the person who sees something wrong and speaks up as an advocate for the person harmed. Scott makes the point that if there is an individual who is constantly being harmed it can get exhausting so they need others to make their case for them.
3. Person causing harm – Kim Scott approaches the situation this person creates from 2 very important vantage points. First, from the person themselves, and secondly how to handle this person. The person causing harm may be completely unaware that they are doing it. This person must be aware that a lot of little things can add up to a big thing. Your throw away comment might be the last straw. When confronting the person who is causing harm ensure not try to take the moral high ground. shaming people into change will not work.
4. Leader – the person in this position must construct the right environment to reduce the chance of harm occurring and allow opportunities to repair it when it does. It is a continuous balancing act.
Throughout the book the author lays out what harm looks like, how to deal with it and how to ensure a working environment where Just work can simply happen.