Is Poor Leadership Damaging Your Company Culture?

leadership and company culture

As the CEO or business owner, your job is crucial in setting the tone for your company culture. These five pitfalls can lead to discontent, high employee turnover and a negative culture.

Your role as CEO or business owner goes beyond planning for the future and forging relationships with investors or a board of directors. The leadership behavior you demonstrate on a daily basis sets the tone of your organization and company culture and often means the difference between a healthy, thriving workplace and a toxic environment where no one succeeds and employees feel downtrodden before they even step in the door every morning.

Many businesses “experience turnover, poor culture and low productivity, but rarely diagnose and treat them as leadership problems,” notes SmartCEO. “Instead they either tolerate them as a common part of organisational life, or mistakenly attribute them to other causes.”

But as any successful TAB Member can tell you, there’s never a good reason to tolerate the effects of a toxic company culture.

Here’s a look at five common leadership traits that foment discontent within an organization and fuel costly employee turnover:

1. Inaccessibility. Of course, a CEO has a busy, if not impossible, schedule to maintain. It’s all too easy, therefore, to cut yourself off from the people who work for you. But when you either lock yourself in your office or are away from the workplace for days or weeks at a time, employees have no sense of your priorities or the direction you wish them to follow. Worse yet, others on your executive or management team can fall into the same pattern, further exacerbating a sense of exclusion within the company.

2. Unwillingness to accept responsibility. Poor leaders are quick to blame others when things go wrong when, in fact, final responsibility rests with the organization’s leadership. These individuals are too caught up in their own egos and an exaggerated sense of their public image. The result? A culture where managers and employees are too fearful to show initiative or share innovative solutions.

3. A tendency to micromanage. Ineffective leaders share one common conviction: Nobody can do things better than they can. They feel compelled to step in and direct business operations at every level or, alternatively, to closely monitor employee behaviour and react to shortcomings in a punitive manner. In either case, this ends up frustrating team members and robbing them of a sense of personal achievement.

4. A lack of communication. Sometimes CEOs develop a new strategy or vision without sharing how they did it. They make pronouncements but fail to share the underlying thought process that led to the new initiative they want everyone to implement. This lack of communication only leaves employees guessing as to how to go about fulfilling the latest strategic vision. It also breeds secrecy on every level within the organization.

5. An indulgence in gossip. People often enjoy gossiping and sharing rumors with others in the company, but if this is tolerated (or demonstrated) at the leadership level, you can abandon all hopes of a transparent and collaborative culture. Gossip “erodes an organisation’s culture and energy over time,” writes Matt Ehrlichman at Fast Company. “Cliques form and employees find comfort in their connection to each other through trash-talking—instead of building relationships based on accomplishments and goals.”

Correcting negative leadership traits can’t be achieved overnight, but recognizing that they exist is a crucial first step. The key is modeling the behavior you wish to see displayed throughout the company. This includes:

  • Being available as much as possible and/or holding regular all-staff meetings to share your views and listen to others
  • Transparency, including a willingness to share bad news when necessary
  • Taking responsibility when an initiative fails and sharing the credit when there’s success
  • Encouraging individual resourcefulness and not personally overseeing all aspects of the business
  • Not tolerating gossip or rumors in the workplace
  • Treating every individual, regardless of title, with dignity and respect
  • Promoting and supporting opportunities for employees to grow and become leaders on their own

You’ll know when things have turned a corner and the workplace exudes a new sense of teamwork and excitement. That’s when you can take pride in helping shape a company culture where everyone’s contribution is valued and people are working together to achieve the company’s strategic goals.

Need more insights on adjusting your company culture? A TAB Board can help! Contact us to get connected with a TAB Facilitator in your local area.

 

How Business Psychology Can Help You Gain Customers

happy worker holding sandwiches at the backery

By Guest Blogger, Eileen O’Shanassy

There is a ton of psychology involved in doing business, and as a business owner you must understand that people behave in certain ways and can be influenced with the right triggers to purchase your products or services. There are many examples of how to use basic psychology to get more customers and if you are savvy, you can use these to your advantage as you market. If you want more information, check out applied psychology programs online or courses where you can learn these skills in a business sense.

Using Social Proof
When people have an opinion on something, you will put more weight into that opinion even if they didn’t conduct any in-depth research and haven’t compared the pros and cons. Businesses use social proof in the form of reviews, ratings, social media mentions, and buzz to bring attention to their products and services. They know that if they build a positive conversation around their business, it’ll create a momentum that will attract new customers. Use positive reviews like these to improve your customer reach and to market your business more easily.

Using Authority
You are more likely to trust a business if some kind of authority is attached to them. For example, if you see an endorsement given by a well-known figure or celebrity, you are more likely to trust the company that’s being endorsed. Sometimes the authority is built around reputable roles like doctors, law enforcement, physical trainer, etc. If you can establish authority around your business, you’ll increase your credibility and make it easier for new customers to trust you.

Scarcity
A psychological trigger that you often see used in infomercials is scarcity. People are generally attracted to things that are harder to get. Some get emotionally worked up by the possibility of losing something valuable. Infomercials often use this trigger by building up value in bonuses and discounts. The kicker is that the bonuses and discounts are only available for a limited time. This creates scarcity and often triggers customers to buy when they may not have done so under normal circumstances.

While psychology is an incredible way to gain customers, you still need to realize that your customers are people too. Don’t insult your audience by making it obvious that you’re trying to use a gimmick to get them to make a purchase. You have to walk a fine line and embed psychology into your communication in a way that is respectful while also impactful. Consumers have become more educated about marketers over the last few decades, so it’s important to learn how to use psychology the right way for the right products.

Need more advice on gaining more customers? Find out if the collective wisdom of a peer-advisory board is right for your business.

 
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