I somehow missed this kerfuffle when it was all going down, but I read about it recently and it’s stuck with me.
I think if I were in the decision making position when this happened my first instinct would would have been to dig in my heels. When I first saw the “United Meritocracy of GitHub” slogan, I saw it as aspirational. I still do, and I struggle to understand the counter-arguments (though I want to, it seems important). I would dig in because my motivations were good, not realizing that it is the action that would be judged (through each person’s own perspective).
The pureness (or not) of my motivations wouldn’t matter. The slogan was causing a problem and Chris Wanstrath chose to act quickly and diffuse the situation. Regardless of the root cause, the effect was clearly toxic and unnecessary. That’s the larger picture. And the fix was as simple as replacing a rug.
This showed me how much I still have to learn about being a leader. To do it right, I need to get past my own mental sticking points and focus on the big picture. Make good macro decisions and don’t get bogged down in the minutia; even when I feel like I’m “right” about something. Being right is all about ego, and placating my ego doesn’t help my team succeed.