The right culture has a huge impact on employee well-being and motivation and in-turn company productivity and performance. According to a “Toxic Workers” study published by Harvard University, employees who engage in poor performance and inappropriate behaviour can severely undermine the business, even if they are seen to have a high level of talent. Putting an end to these behaviours and stopping toxic workers infiltrate your business can save as much revenue as employing high-performing workers.
Although most companies promote a positive company culture, there are still many businesses that struggle to find a productive solution. Here are my 4 key activities that can cause negativity in your organisational culture:
1. Communication problems
In my opinion one of the biggest and most common problems that can lead to significant issues is a lack of effective communication — or worse, team members who use passive-aggressive communication. Constructive collaboration is the key to accomplishing long-term business goals so without effective communication, a toxic gap will arise between departments that often leads to issues between managers, employees, and their customers.
Some real examples of bad communication are:
- Keeping employees in the dark about future plans (someone will always let a sneak preview out and this
causes a Chinese whisper ripple effect)
- Not resolving rumours that are so unhelpful and easily resolved
- Poorly written emails with unclear messages
- Passive-aggressive comments
You can notice communication problems by the way employees interact with each other. If you find something that’s out of harmony with your organizational culture, chances are high that your workplace is toxic.
2. Poor leadership
Poor leaders can exasperate an atmosphere of negativity in the workplace. The main characteristic of a toxic leader is the manner in which he/she treats their team members i.e. with disrespect, arrogance or rudeness. Leaders like these can often see their team members as 'their property' and feel that it is their right 'as the manager' to behave in this way.
While these leaders might meet high business expectations for a period of time, the impact of this leadership style is always going to have a negative affect the health on the company in the long term and will inevitably produce a company culture that has low morale, high staff turn over and therefore lowers the productivity of an organisation.
It is expected that all team members live by the company core values, mission and share overall outcomes but what happens when some people don't follow these? We have all worked for someone who has favoured another team member who doesn't pull their weight or is disruptive but this is likely to cause a huge detrimental impact on the organisational culture across the wider team.
There are lots of reasons why managers show favouritism but if not dealt with effectively and in a fair way to everyone within the business, this behaviour will eventually cause internal combustion. To promote fairness and accountability, business policies and procedures should be written down, distributed to employees BUT also followed by leaders, managers, CEOs who lead by example, and have clear implications for those who do not.
4. More emphasis on the data instead of the people
When business owners try to retain talent, they often lure workers with benefits and large salaries however numerous studies have shown that whilst these work in the short turn this is not what drives individuals to maintain productivity and performance. Yes, people should be remunerated properly but there is more and more emerging evidence that is showing that this just isn’t enough.
People want to feel empowered, valued and treated as individuals by their managers and when that mixture is right they will often go above what is expected. It is important that leaders see their teams as people so when performance managing ask how they are, find out what is important to them, what inspired and motivates them and not just as someone with an expected output.