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Toxic Work Culture Series: Review of Toxic Behaviors

For the past two weeks, CPR's Toxic Work culture series focused on disruptive workplace behaviors that, if left unchecked, evolve into a toxic workplace culture for everyone. Unfortunately, in the twenty-first century, some traits at face value are classified as unacceptable, while other behaviors are not. Why? Simply because everyone does it. When a negative attribute is flipped to become the norm, you should know that we are shifting into a morally corrupt society. If everyone does bad behavior, is it still negative? Of course, the difference is that you have just lowered your standards. Bad behavior should never be normalized. Today's post reflects additional disruptive traits that should be nipped in the bud. They are (1) Negative attitude, (2) Micromanagement, and (3) Making excuses.

A. Negative Attitude

At one point in our career, we were made to work with someone with a negative attitude or thinking. This person is almost always the victim and never sees the light at the end of the tunnel. For any organization, a negative attitude can dismantle any team, and for a small business, it can have dire consequences. Below are some tips offered by Workplace Culture magazine in its September 2022 issue.

1. Never take the problem more lightly:

  • Looking past a bad situation will make your problem even more progressive.

2. Delve deep into the matter:

  • This includes collecting data & conduct direct observations before drawing a conclusion concluding.

3. You have to research the problem. The leaders must investigate any significant concerns expressed by other employees

4. Allow the problematic employee to come back on track by coaching the employee and be sure to provide feedback

5. Terminate if and when necessary. Better to cut your losses early in the game than later on the battlefield.

B. Micromanagement

Micromanagement is, in its simplest definition, over-supervising. Most micromanagers are categorized as controlling. A work environment that is controlling is neither positive nor creative. As a small business leader, it is easy to fall into the process of micromanaging but evade it when identified. Pex offers ten tips to identify whether you are a micromanager:

1. When Your Employee Asks “How Should I do it.”

2. Employees Always Wait for Your Instructions

3. Your Employee Takes More Than Twice to Complete a Task

4. You Spend Most of Your Day Giving Negative Feedback

5. Your Employee Needs Constant Direction and Supervision

6. You Have a List of Requirements for Everything your Employee Does

7. Your Employees Often Come to you Asking Questions

8. You Constantly Feel Like Fighting an Uphill Battle

9. You Constantly Nitpicking on Every Little Detail

10. You set Deadlines on behalf of Your Employees

C. Making Excuses

Someone who makes excuses more than likely is also a procrastinator masking their inability to execute the assigned tasks. Making excuses is habit-forming, a destructive habit that must be eliminated. As a leader, if you continue to accept your team's excuses, you are nurturing a work habit that may evolve into a toxic workplace. It's also a tremendous disservice to your entire team. If you’re a leader, do not accept “can’t” from the people you influence. To eradicate excuses, do the following:

  1. Set clear goals and objectives

  2. Sit, review goals and objectives, as well as outline your expectations and what your employee is accountable for

  3. Pending on the duration of the project, set dates for update meetings, and monitor without micromanaging (yes, there is a difference-review element of micromanaging in section b)

  4. Hold member accountable, if the deadline is not met as agreed upon

  5. Create a culture of execution, getting deliverables done

  6. show appreciation and value

  7. Lead by example; you, too, must meet your deadlines and not make excuses.

For a leader, you must decide and be intentional about the work culture you desire. Suppose you aim to foster a positive and creative work culture. In that case, you must commence the work of constructing positivity and creativity by simply establishing the policy (including a written statement of commitment), reviewing the policy with your team, placing corrective action measures in place, and, when the time comes, you must execute your written commitment by holding people accountable regardless of the person who is in violation. This is undoubtedly one step in paving the way to improve your organization's culture.

Warm Regards,


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