EverythingPeople This Week!

Published on Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Do You Have an Intimidating Culture?

Author: Mary E. Corrado

Organizational culture is important to retaining top talent.  But could your organization have an intimidating culture without you, as a leader, even realizing it?  First, let’s define culture: culture is the way business is operated within your organization.  It’s how people treat each other.  It’s how welcome or unwelcome varying opinions are.  Culture is not ping pong tables and nap pods.

We’ve all run across toxic people in an office, which can lead to a toxic, intimidating culture. How would you know if you have managers treating their staff inappropriately, creating a toxic environment, against your said culture?  Who is evaluating them?  Where does that feedback come from?  When a manager makes someone’s work life more difficult by becoming part of the problem, it will reduce productivity and engagement.  When this behavior is allowed to continue occurring, it will eventually have a negative effect on the culture.  Your culture could be evolving into something you never intended it to.

I recently read an article in Harvard Business Review that lists several effects of recurring toxicity at work:

  • Decreased work effort
  • Decreased time at work
  • Decreased work quality
  • Lost time worrying about the incident
  • Lost time avoiding the offender
  • A decline in their commitment to the organization

This is where some of your best talent can be lost.  Especially in today’s job market, it isn’t as difficult as in the past for someone to move on to a different company.  There are opportunities out there, and the best talent will find them.

Organizational leaders need to hire for behavioral traits and promote trust and inclusivity in their organizations.  A feedback loop needs to be created so that staff can report any toxic environments or relationships that are occurring.  Some ways to do this include:

  • Develop a clear policy on what zero tolerance means – Workplace policies should clearly cover what behavior is acceptable and what isn’t.
  • Allow employees to opt out of company events – Don’t make parties, drinks after work, or midday events mandatory.  Not everyone is comfortable in those situations, and often in those more relaxed environments is where some inappropriate behavior could occur.
  • Include 360-degree reviews for management – Employees should be consistently asked for their feedback on management.  They are the ones working in the trenches with their manager day after day and can give the most accurate feedback.

We all strive for an inclusive, safe culture, but how do you ensure it’s being maintained at all levels throughout your organization?  Email me at mcorrado@aseonline.org.

Categories: Blog


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