When employees feel discouraged — quietly or otherwise — with the organization they work for, there can be a significant impact on how well a company does, long term.
If you think your company culture could use some work, it is likely already teetering on turning toxic. This isn’t something to ignore, or hope that time will fix on its own. If left to fester, coming back from a poor environment is problematic: Attitudes and approaches linger. You need to take control of your corporate culture now and make the necessary changes in order to provide your employees the welcoming environment they need.
So what are some of the red flags? Below, eight members of Forbes Coaches Council weigh in on the warning signs that a company culture is toxic and the steps they need to take to fix the problem. Here is what they watch for:
1. Leaders Delegating Tasks, Not Results
When leaders find themselves delegating tasks, not results, there’s something amiss with the culture. Leaders should develop people who are self-sufficient, have a high level of skill, and a high level of motivation. People want the same thing: autonomy, mastery and purpose. You only achieve these things by becoming a rockstar coach, not a micromanager. Process and consistency, please. – Antonio Garrido, Absolute Sales Development
2. Lack Of A Consistent Growth Strategy
One of the biggest warning signs of a toxic company culture is the lack of growth strategy. Everyone is focused on delivering short-term results. This puts the business in a very weak competitive position. The first step is to develop a medium-term innovation strategy for market, product and customer growth. – Gabriella Goddard, brainsparker
3. No Execution On Major Strategic Projects
One of the top warning signs that company culture is toxic is lack of execution on major strategic projects. This signals lack of communication and trust on the part of the employees. The first step in fixing this is opening lines of communication to develop dialogue and trust. This starts the process of vision alignment and how employees play a part in it. – Judd Borakove, Red Monkey Consulting
4. Leaders Lacking Awareness Of Their Impact
When leaders are unaware of the impact their actions are having on those around them, the culture is toxic. Being committed to making a positive contribution and ensuring that it happens one person at a time is a great way to start addressing this issue. – Nina Segura, Metaspire LLC.
5. Employees Ignoring Out-Of-Touch Policies
Employees will sometimes stop following policies because the policy is written by executives who are not clear on the issues. Policies that don’t work well are often put in place because the executives are not staying connected to the leaders who are closest to the issue at hand. To maximize organizational effectiveness, get feedback from leaders at various levels of your organization. – Mika Hunter, Female Defender
6. Teams Afraid Of Voicing Thoughts And Ideas
When people are afraid to express their thoughts and propose new ideas, it is a sign of an unsafe environment, which means the culture is toxic. They are operating in survival mode. When the brain activates our survival mode, it deactivates the rational brain so we can’t leverage our full intellectual capacity. The first step is building trust through connectors, who act as a positive hub. – Carlos Davidovich, Optimum Talent Inc
7. High Employee Turnover
A warning sign is employee turnover. Conduct exit interviews designed to be confidential and candid. This has to be accompanied by a real commitment by senior leadership to address the systemic drivers of employee disengagement. – Richard Franzi, Critical Mass for Business
8. Leadership Not Taking Responsibility
A warning sign that a company culture is toxic is when the leaders aren’t taking accountability and responsibility for driving the cultural standard. The company looks to its leaders and the examples they set to follow. I start at the top to create transformation. When change happens at the highest level, it will be a natural and much smoother evolution for the rest of the company. – Stephanie Vaughan, One Source Coaching