Old ideas could be dragging down your culture and hurting engagement, retention, productivity, and morale.
Are there elements of your culture that are sabotaging the health of your organization, costing good employees, and hurting productivity? Some of these may be leftovers from 10 or 20 years ago when they were considered acceptable, maybe even essential. However, the move to a more person-centered, tech-savvy workplace has rendered these ideas obsolete and, in some cases, dangerous. Read on to see what “landmines” your culture may be hiding.
- Internal competition. There was a time when some leaders considered pitting employees against each other to be a winning strategy. In truth, when people prioritize winning over values, ethics, teamwork, and respect for others, it leads to internal tension and conflict, stress, anxiety, and turnover. To promote a healthy culture, consider a shift from “me” to “we” by breaking down silos, promoting teamwork, and celebrating successes as a group.
- Micromanagement. Studies suggest that when people feel like they’re being micromanaged, they lose motivation and initiative and the desire to be self-starters and innovators. They either give up and they just do what is required of them and no more; or they seek opportunities elsewhere.
- Lack of collaboration. Nothing kills innovation like being told, “We’ve always done it that way” or “We tried that, and it didn’t work.” Instead, figure out how people’s ideas and suggestions might be tweaked or merged with other concepts. Bring people together to solve problems and create teams to move ideas forward.
- Aiming for perfection. Excellence is key to a successful organization. However, perfection is an unrealistic standard. When leaders expect perfection from employees, people don’t take risks, try new things, or suggest innovations. They are more likely to try and hide mistakes and be afraid to admit that they don’t know how to do something or that they need training or help. Encourage your teams to pursue excellence, seek training, education, and support when they need it, and be creative innovators. When mistakes happen, use root-cause analyses to identify flaws in processes or systems, instead of finger-pointing and blaming individuals.
- Need to be liked. While it’s important for coworkers to get along and treat each other with courtesy and respect, your organization isn’t a 1960s sitcom where everyone is one big happy family. Employees should be free to express different opinions and even engage in debate. Leaders should model this behavior by seeking honest input and making it clear that it’s okay to disagree.
The status quo can be comfortable, but over time it can kill performance, innovation, and engagement. Make time to walk around your organization and look for signs that your culture is stuck in a time warp and needs to be updated.