Workplace culture is a combination of several things. It includes the attitudes, behaviors, and beliefs held by individuals that create the general atmosphere of an organization. This culture can be one of positivity or toxicity.
“Getting workplace culture right is a matter of life or death.” – Glenn Akramoff
How can you identify if your workplace has a toxic culture or is in trouble?
There are absolutely warning signs to look for.. If you know what they are then there may be time to change things before they become dire. Here are a few warning signs to look out for:
- Innovation Stops – To innovate means to “make changes to something established by introducing new methods, ideas, or products.” Is there a shift away from progress, change, and creativity? Are problems being “solved” with only one solution rather than brainstorming the best fix to the issue? Is there a lack of excitement? All of these questions can help you to pick out whether innovation is still a thriving part of your organization or if it has died off.
- People are Afraid – When you look around at the people on your team, what are their faces saying that their mouth isn’t? What is their body language telling you? During meetings, are people speaking up or not? Fear is a powerful control tool, but not one that should be used to successfully lead. If the general mood of the room is fear, then you need to take steps to correct that.
- Sense of Foreboding – Do you remember the excitement that you felt when you first started your job? The sense of anticipation at new projects or possible promotions? Has that excitement and anticipation been replaced with a feeling of foreboding? Are team members holding back and apprehensive about speaking up or sharing their ideas? Have you noticed an increase in people calling in sick (especially on Mondays) or just not showing up at all? Figuring out what it is they are dreading will be the start of addressing the problem for the long term.
- Respect is Optional – Once respect becomes optional in a workplace, nobody is held accountable and communication ceases to a halt. This is a dangerous place to be as it can lead to gossip, drama, and even workplace harassment. If you notice that respect is lacking in your organization, act quickly and decisively before these other problems develop.
Awareness and identifying these warning signs is the first step, the next step is to take action to correct them. You cannot just wait and hope these problems will disappear on their own. Instead, take a cue from the words below:
“Do not wait for a change of environment before you act; get a change of environment by action.” – Wallace D. Wattles