Let’s consider Uber again. If a female employee reported one of your male leaders for inappropriate conduct, are you really sure what you’d do? Do you have a written strategy for approaching tough situations like harassment? Do you have a way of collecting anonymous feedback, or a designated, trained person for employees to talk to? Does reading this make you want to call me in a panic? Many startups hear “policy” and run for the hills, but in these cases, simply having them in place is a powerful reassurance of what your values are as a leader. Snakes thrive in ambiguity.
To be civilized is a great responsibility, a wearying task. Freedom has many prices. One is not just our vigilance — but our humility. Noble sentiments, our love and kindness and grace? Not quite. It means that we are also ever aware of the conflicts raging in every human heart. That humans are fallible, broken things — who can be easily tempted, led astray, seduced by hate. Not just “them”. But “us”. The big us: our tribe, people, city, town, state. And the little us: our friends, neighbors, even ourselves. That is humility.