Marie was in her first professional job. One of her first projects was to create a new program offering from the ground up that she was to oversee and maintain. Excited about the project, she jumped right into the research and planning. She expected to be reporting back to her boss with results and progress and eventually settle on a launch date to open the program for applicants. Instead, she was met with micromanaging emails, rejections or unanswered requests from her boss, taking her back to square one week after week.
It quickly seemed that this project would always be “in the pipeline” and never take root. Her boss wanted it to be perfect. In meetings, her boss would brag up the chain about the positive culture and freedom for staff to make mistakes and grow. This was confusing to Marie and her new co-workers because none of that was actually happening. In this case, the culture was restrictive and the entire office was at the whim of the boss.
You can talk about culture all you want, but unless you make intentional steps to get there, you just have words on paper and dreams in your head. Worse yet, culture happens whether you want it to or not. You can start off strong and before you know it, other things become a priority. Then, you have unhappy employees and unmet goals.
How are you contributing to the culture that exists in your workplace? Here are some things to consider:
Choose your attitude.
Think about the last “bad day” you had. Did everything go wrong? Or, did one thing go wrong, but it ruined your mood and made the rest of the day bad too? Negative attitudes are more contagious than positive ones. It’s easy to get pulled down by even one team member’s negativity. According to the University of Southern California, “The U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics has reported that negativity costs businesses $3 billion a year due to its harmful effects.”
Don’t let perfect be the enemy of progress.
As the boss or team leader, it can be hard to relinquish control and trust your team. However, workplace culture is ever-evolving and things like micro-managing won’t get you to a healthy work environment. If you are constantly checking on a team member regarding a project, maybe you don’t trust them. The Harvard Business Review says that there are 8 different types of company culture. Think about your work and your team. What type of culture do you lead or work in?
Focus on people, not numbers.
Employees need and deserve to be appreciated. We spend a lot of time with our co-workers. Showing them we care is vital to keeping them motivated to remain a high performer.
“People leave when they don’t feel appreciated.”– David Novak
Get on the same page.
Each quarter, we have a retreat that serves as an opportunity to plan for the next quarter. More importantly, these retreats help us to reconnect with the rest of the team. Use your next retreat, or schedule a first one, to create expectations around the type of culture you all want to work in. If you’re not sure how to start the planning process, check out how we do it.
People give up a lot of time to work toward a shared vision when they take on the responsibilities and expectations of their positions. At the end of the day, employees come back for the paycheck or the workplace culture. Paychecks can be found at other companies. As a team leader, what are you doing to make sure your employees are getting what they need to flourish as humans?