The following is a Q&A interview conducted during the 2019 SHRM Annual Conference and Exposition by...
Leadership Sabotaging Your Workplace Culture?
Learn four ways leadership may be sabotaging your workplace culture — and what you can do about it.
Positive workplace culture is the foundation of a truly successful business. Every person within the company should feel physically and psychologically safe to ask questions, be creative, and perform to the best of their ability. Additionally, while different employees have different skillsets and responsibilities, every person should be aiming for the same target.
When the above isn’t the case, a company must undertake a cultural transformation to get back on track. AIHR Digital explains that cultural transformation “takes place when [an] organization engages in a process to realign the culture to its vision, mission, and core values to achieve its strategic objectives.”
Below are four ways your leadership team may be sabotaging the workplace culture at your company — possibly without even realizing it — and four practical tips on how company leaders and HR managers can launch a cultural transformation.
4 Ways Leadership Can Sabotage Workplace Culture and 4 Tips to Fix It
1. Your workplace culture suffers because leadership doesn’t make purpose a priority.
Deloitte reports that “Purpose-driven companies witness higher market share gains and grow three times faster on average than their competitors, all while achieving higher workforce and customer satisfaction.”
Motivation dwindles and productivity suffers when people don’t understand the purpose behind their work. Many companies have well-established purposes communicated via their mission and vision statements. However, if leaders don’t actively make purpose a priority for their teams — or don’t fully understand the company’s purpose themselves — then those mission and vision statements are nothing more than words on a screen.
First, engage your leadership team in a company purpose summit. Devote the time to educate and re-inspire your leaders about their company’s purpose and why they need to make it a priority when building a positive workplace culture. Make sure they truly understand the mission and vision of the company and give them the resources to teach their employees the same.
2. Your workplace culture is confusing because of communication breakdowns.
Effective communication is an essential ingredient for the success of any company. Poor communication increases conflict and loss of productivity, as well as creates a confusing workplace culture that causes employees’ anxiety. Certainly, all the fast-paced changes in the workplace over the past year-and-a-half haven’t helped. With companies fluctuating between in-person, remote, and hybrid policies, communication breakdowns are common.
Schedule a True Colors Workshop. True Colors, a global leader in consulting and training, can customize programming to best meet your company’s needs. Our Communication Workshop is specifically designed to increase engagement and productivity, improve collaboration, dissolve communication barriers, and enhance personal performance through effective communication.
3. Stressed because the team is overextended.
In the name of company growth, teams become overextended and employee workloads become unmanageable. In fact, approximately 46% of employee stress is caused by excessive workloads. Unhappy and burnt-out employees are the result. Additionally, your clients or customers won’t be happy either. Overextended teams simply can’t provide quality service.
Implement workload management techniques, such as utilizing workload management tools to best allocate and track projects and knowing how to spot stress and overload in your teams — and then knowing what to do about it.
4. Hurts because leadership rewards hyperresponsiveness.
It seems intuitive that the ability to focus and achieve outcomes is better than the ability to quickly respond to an email. Yet, hyperresponsiveness is often praised as a trait of a committed employee. The problem with this is that while said employee does answer your question quickly, always being available means always being distracted. Their ability to conduct deep work is inevitably eroded.
Have everyone in your company, leadership down, read the Wall Street Journal Bestseller Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport. The book teaches that “deep work is the ability to focus without distraction on a cognitively demanding task… [It’s] like a superpower in our increasingly competitive twenty-first-century economy. And yet, most people have lost the ability to go deep — spending their days instead in a frantic blur of e-mail and social media, not even realizing there’s a better way.”
Workplace Culture Comes Down to Leadership
As a company leader or HR manager, if you truly want to build positive workplace culture, you must stop letting leadership sabotage it. If you know a cultural transformation is needed at your company, put our tips to practice and start making the positive change you want to see, and your teams deserve.