You might be a slightly anti-capitalist leader

You might be a slightly anti-capitalist leader

I’ve noticed a fascinating theme lately of leaders rebelling against the expectations of capitalist culture. They are not against participating in commerce (they are making money); they are fighting the currents of toxic systems that create toxic organizational culture.

Example number 1 is the revolution I see in organizational disciplinary policy.

Staff members are no longer interested in tolerating a punishment-based disciplinary model. The old ways of doing grievances and punishments are giving way to relationship-oriented conversations and repair. Harmful behavior is not ignored; it is dealt with directly by relying on shared agreements and values.

Process fairness is also on the rise. Leaders are more interested in listening to teammates and working to understand their concerns before changes or new large-scale initiatives are rolled out. This contradicts the old-school “I say it - you do it” leadership style.

I see anti-capitalism in leaders who want to hire people they trust (and then work to maintain that trust) instead of the disappointment of hiring based on a bloated resume not backed up with character.

Psychological safety is getting more attention - especially in organizations where teammates work closely together. Organizations are creating environments where teammates can be authentic and ask for and receive help without shame or ridicule.

Capitalist culture is fundamentally subverted by treating people well. Although capitalism itself can create some complex relationship dynamics (as described by Tara McMullin here), they are not insurmountable challenges when strong leadership is oriented toward the deep support of their teammates.

As more teammates refuse to work in toxic conditions and are energized to create positive organizational culture, leaders are empowered to stop policy policing and start community building. The slightly anti-capitalist leaders I’ve been working with are in all types of organizations - and their organizations are thriving. Anti-capitalist leaders are doing well because of their unwillingness to buy into capitalist cultural norms (such as oppressing their teammates).

If you’re into supporting your teammates, not punishing people, cultivating trust and creating an environment where people are free to do amazing work, welcome to (slightly) anti-capitalist leadership.