Startups, Mentors, Investors and Advisors within their setting tend to have a horizontal organization where everyone talks to everybody directly. No bureaucracy involved, everyone is reachable. Ideas float within everyone and they are all heard [well, most of the time, that’s another subject to write]. If you’re in a tech startup/biz, most likely that you are friends with your superiors on Facebook, follow each other on Twitter [or one of you does], have each other on mobile messengers, connected on LinkedIn and so on. You also tend to have casual beer/meal sessions with them.
But where do you draw the line in terms on how far you could stretch this “closeness”? How does respect play between you and your superior in both ways?
It is a common knowledge that your superiors (or your Chiefs & VPs, mostly) know more of the higher level plans, strategies, demise, challenges, wins than the rest of the team. Because they are supposed to see the bigger, wider picture to drive the entire organization to where they should be. It is not about trust but there are mechanisms within the organization that function as such. Nobody could be the coal to the train as you also need fire for its steam.
It is not a separation but a unified function of a team. With that, respect plays a big role to be working with each other.
You may be “friends” with your superiors, but you also have to leverage that they are your professional colleagues too. If you completely merge both, then you’re on your way to destruction of just and respect for others and yourself. You separate them according to the situation and setting. It is as simple as you nitpick what you may disclose to each other at that certain time that could demoralize or affect each other in the workplace, considering you may be in the middle of a big product release or you are in your boss’ wedding. There is always a danger of crossing the line and fail to get back from the way it was.
Leaders would always like to know more about their individual colleagues — professional and personal as much as they can. They do that as they already know how these are separated yet it is also their jobs to raise up, promote and develop their peoples’ skills to give them a successful career or motivation. Understanding situations from up there is a very valuable possession of a true leader. And they have, methodically, know that this knowledge is a big responsibility on its own.
What I am getting into now is that everybody, in whatever setting, has a responsibility to draw the line not to affect or put somebody else in danger, threat or disrespect. Humans are amazingly flexible in adapting, but online tends to blur that within comforts of common courtesy. Set aside hierarchy, just among your peers.
It is always this principle of going back to basics. Offline behaviour will always play within your online selfdom. They are not a separate entity at all. Your online presence is the extension of who you are offline. And that is now a huge professional consideration about a person to be hired.
So dig deep and consider respect.
A flippant, frivolous man may ridicule others, may controvert them, scorn them; but he who has any respect for himself seems to have renounced the right of thinking meanly of others.