Posts Tagged ‘Workplace culture’

What Do You Do With A High-Performer Who Doesn’t Fit?

Wednesday, November 21st, 2012

Your Number 2, your go-to guy, your second in command… Whatever you call him/her, he’s the guy/gal you know is going to deliver when the going gets tough. But what if he is pissing everyone else off around him? What if he’s the cause of many other people not performing as well as they could?

Would you rather have a team with one superstar and a number of other average performers, or a team full of above-average performers?

I can’t answer that question for you, but that’s what went through my mind as I was talking with a senior executive when he told me about his second-in-command. It seems his Number 2 was a real animal when it came to working with other people, and his management style was very different from what the boss wanted.

What do you do? I see three options:

  1. Replace him with someone that fits your company’s culture and your style – someone who can work well with others.
  2. Live with him, knowing that he’s getting things done and his collateral damage is the price you and your employees pay for that.
  3. Try to change him, molding him, asking him to work with people the way you’d like.

What would you do?

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What Can I Do About A Toxic Culture?

Wednesday, October 31st, 2012

Have you been a part of group of people where the atmosphere was just fantastic? It could have been a sports team, at work, a group of volunteers or a hobby group, but it was just great the way people worked together, everyone performed well, and it was fun.

Have you been part of a group that was the opposite? You know, one of those situations where the word “toxic” comes to mind?

We’re talking workplace culture here, right? I like to think of a group culture as being what people say about it behind its back – how they would define what it was like to be part of the group if asked by someone not connected to it.

The worst part of being in a toxic culture is the feeling that you can’t do anything about it. But can you do something? What if…

Here’s an idea: Start by getting those around you to open up to the possibility of change, and getting a mental image of what it would be like if the culture changed for the better. Start by asking, “What would it be like if we didn’t work in such a toxic environment? Can you imagine what it would be like if this was a fun and productive workplace? Let’s talk about what that would be like.” Then do that. Talk about a non-toxic workplace culture, getting a clear mental picture of what that would look like, what it would feel like, how people would act. Ensure that it’s not all focused on others, but also on how you and the person you’re talking to would change and behave.

Have that conversation with every one who’s a part of your team until everyone sees what could be. This may take some time, for changing people’s mindsets can take time. But help them get the vision of a better workplace culture.

Begin modeling the behavior that will lead to the desired culture, and encourage others to do the same by giving confirming feedback to anyone who behaves the way you want, reinforcing the desired actions. People will repeat what they’ve been rewarded for, even if that reward is a simple bit of confirming feedback. And the more they repeat that behavior, the more others will follow, until one day you’ll realize that the culture has changed.

It’s easy to be a victim, and resign yourself to a miserable working environment, but you don’t need to. It’s easy to expect that the culture must be driven from the top down, and that you’ll have to wait until your bosses do something about it. But you, no matter what your position within a group, can have an impact on it. And what do you think would happen once people realized that the workplace culture had changed, and you were a major contributor to making that happen?

If you have any questions about how you can change a workplace culture, let me know. I’d love to help.