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The warning signs of a toxic culture

There are many warning signs of a poor culture, some are spoken about openly, some are known but only acknowledged privately, if at all.

Have you ever heard people in your organisation say the following, or maybe even say these yourself?

  • We have no trust in our team and we don’t really know what we are doing.
  • I can’t get the people in my team to speak up in meetings.
  • We don’t communicate well, messages don’t seem to be filtering through the hierarchy.
  • If only we could communicate better.
  • Our team meetings suck.
  • My team has a number of non- or under-performers.
  • My team is too busy and not focusing on what’s important.
  • We have an under-performer which is impacting the rest of the team, and there isn’t anything being done to hold them accountable.
  • This team has been together for a long time – stuck in their ways. Some don’t get on and I don’t think they ever will.
  • There is the feeling of ‘been there done that – it didn’t change things’ and a real resistance to change or trying to do things better.

If you’re a leader within this culture, maybe secretly you wonder if it is you and your leadership style that’s creating some of this:

  • I don’t understand what do I need to do to make this team work.
  • Could I do this better?
  • I actually don’t understand how some of my team think.
  • I don’t want to change who I am or feel expected to become someone I’m not to fit in at this level and I don’t like the culture at this level.
  • I just don’t seem to fit in.

There are ways to create the types of team we want to be part of and develop the culture that is closely aligned to our values. It is absolutely essential that leaders drive this, though each person in the workplace can and needs to work towards it!

Building a calm culture is like building a bridge: without the foundation and engineering, it may fail. It is essential that we understand the building blocks to get there.

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