Signs You Have A Toxic Organizational Culture

2 min read
Jan 21, 2015

toxic organizational cultureCulture exists in every organization: some are actively maintained, while others are just left up to chance. It has the power to shape the way companies operate and how employees perform. But a whopping 64% of employees feel like they don’t have a strong work culture.

A toxic organizational culture is nothing but bad news. Especially in an already stress-inducing environment, a negative workplace is the last things employees need in their lives. Here’s how to tell if your company has a toxic culture:

  1. "Bully" and "boss" have the same meaning: Do managers hover over their employee’s shoulder? Or maybe they publically shame their subordinates. A bully-boss puts more effort into making people feel devalued than appreciated.

  2. Recognition is extinct: High fives and awards are as real as fairy tales. No one gets acknowledged for a job well done, and employees are expected to just churn out work like cogs.

  3. Rules are meant to be broken: Consistency is the key to an aligned culture. But that can’t happen if managers are giving other employees special privileges all the time (playing favorites much?)

  4. Training and development are a maybe: It’s the blind leading the blind—managers are clueless and employees are left to figure everything out on their own. There’s no formal training or developmental plan in place.

  5. Information hoarding: Management doesn’t tell anyone anything. And when they do, it’s only because they have to or it’s too late to resolve anything.

  6. Colleagues are competitors: Employees go head-to-head instead of working side by side. Coworkers purposely sabotage their peers, retain information, or refuse to ask for help so they can come out on top.

  7. Playing hide-and-seek with opportunities: Special projects are hidden from employees. And if they want to find out promotions, they have to jump through hoops to find out how or what’s available.

  1. Meetings are silent: No one talks during meetings. Mainly because managers refuse to listen to their employees, and everyone’s scared to voice their opinions.

  2. Crush creativity: Managers think they know best. They don’t believe their employees have any innovative ideas, so they don’t even bother to encourage creative thinking.

  3. Fun is done: All work and no play. Employees are stuck to their desks, and managers don’t encourage their workers to get up or take a break.

Do any of these sound familiar? If they do, don’t fret just yet. Being aware is the first step to improvement. And obviously, the next is to take action and start making changes to create a culture that employees can be proud of.



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