If you’ve ever worked in a toxic workplace culture, you know how unpleasant it is.
In a toxic work environment, you are likely to encounter one or more of these signs:
- A lack of trust and respect
- Unwillingness to be transparent with information
- Lots of finger-pointing and blame
- Unhealthy competition
- Workplace gossip and rumors
- Over-emphasis on short-term outcomes
- Pervasive “bro culture”
- High turnover
Cut-throat, high-stress toxic environments are bad for business.
On the other hand, research shows engaged workplace cultures perform better in the areas of customer satisfaction, sales, share-price and employee productivity.
According to a study by the University of Michigan, qualities of a positive workplace culture can be distilled into 6 characteristics:
- Treat colleagues as friends.
- Offer compassion and kindness when colleagues are struggling.
- Avoid finger-pointing and blame.
- Motivate and inspire others.
- Emphasize why work is important and meaningful.
- Cultivate trusting relationships through interactions that focus on respect, gratitude and integrity.
What’s the lesson?
Perks such as ping pong tables and free snacks aren’t enough to build a strong culture and positively engaged employees.
Leaders must model, encourage and reward the simple, small (and inexpensive) behaviors that matter most.