One of the most bizarre techniques that is sometimes adopted by weak managers of culturally weak organizations is the use of threatening language in the communication channels across the organization levels!
The repeated use of expressions like (or else … those who are not with us are against us … I will remember that in the annual appraisal … if you do not want to stay on the ship) in meetings, emails, circulations, or even in the company written policy, cause nothing on the long run but the loss of trust, disappearance of loyalty, and performance tardiness.
What provoked this post is a memo by one of the international brands working in Saudi Arabia. It is hanged beside one of its warehouses in front of everyone to see. It is written in Arabic; but here is its translation:
“Attention!!!!!!!!!!!! For all staff, please do not set anywhere outside the store unless it is a permitted area. If these instructions are not followed, the store management will have to take any necessary action.”
Regardless of the main topic of the memo, which is the staff seating arrangements, the memo was going somehow OK till the threatening language begun. As someone who knows nothing about the internal processes or culture of this company, reading these few lines I can tell that it is based on fear and intimidation. I can picture how demotivated their staff are and how the internal communication channels are filled with tension.
I am not saying that companies policies should not contain rules against misbehavior and so forth, but I am saying use them wisely, trust your staff, and do not threaten them. If you cannot build your company, department, or team culture based on trust, rest assured that you are going … nowhere!