6 Ways Leaders Sabotage Their Culture

2 min read
May 17, 2015

iStock_000018890748_SmallA jarring 64% of employees don’t feel like they have a strong work culture, according to our 2014 Employee Engagement Report. That’s over half of your workforce!

Your culture is the heart of your organization. Because it’s such an intangible idea, many leaders forget to keep tabs on its health and just leave it up to chance. However, doing so leads to terrible repercussions such as decreased productivity, low morale, and the worst of them all: attrition. Here are the top organizational culture mistakes that any leader might make without even knowing it:

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  1. Hoarding information: Do you operate on a “need-to-know” basis? When you only provide information to employees if you believe they are qualified to know. As much as you believe this is protecting your organization, it’s actually harming it. You need to be transparent with information and share it across your company … good or bad.

  2. Forced recognition: Are you guilt-tripping employees into recognizing their peers? Doing that is even worse than not providing recognition at all. Any type of forced behavior creates inauthenticity and makes the recognition meaningless.

  3. Silent values: Organizations can plaster their core values all over the walls, but if you and your employees aren’t living by them, then what’s the point of having them? Start by using your values as the foundation for all of your business decisions to really bring them to life.

  4. Left to drown: Sometimes there’s tension when two completely different departments are working together. If you just leave your employees there to clash heads, you’re only adding fuel to the fire. As a leader, step in and offer support to both parties and help them find a middle ground.

  5. Punishing feedback: If you ask for feedback, not everything you receive is going to be rainbows and butterflies. But isn’t that the point? To uncover issues so you can improve the workplace? Don’t punish employees for their negative feedback. They’re only expressing their concerns because they are looking for improvements.

  6. Outward devalue: If you’re looking to demoralize your employee, go ahead and tell them they have a shelf life at your organization. How about also telling them that quality doesn’t matter because you’re just looking for quantity? Avoiding this should be a no-brainer, but it does happen. Keep in mind how much time and effort employees put in to contribute to your organization’s success.

A toxic organizational culture is automatically set up with a revolving door. However, if you put employee engagement at the center, then you’re on your way to creating a thriving culture.




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