3 Ways how Senior Leaders Create a Toxic Culture

Date: 22-Apr-2019

3 Ways how Senior Leaders Create a Toxic Culture

It’s a known fact; in general, people at the top of an organization usually have a disproportionate level of influence over those they escort or lead, whether controlling the entire company, a department, a project, a region, or a business unit.

And those further downward in the organization always look up to their leaders for cues on what’s okay and acceptable and what isn’t.

Having your actions play out in public is a huge responsibility, and unfortunately, not too many leaders take this responsibility and authorization as seriously as they should. And its consequences can be further reaching than most leadership teams recognize.

What best leadership teams can do is synchronize their organizations into solid powerhouses. And what worst they can do is set an example that few of the worst habits will be bearable — and perhaps even rewarded.

There are three common habits you will see across in organisations that have the most negative influence over a company and its people and also the remedy for fixing them are listed below.

1) Scattered priority

  • It’s astonishing to note how badly most leadership teams smartly.
  • They set meeting agendas randomly only days beforehand (if at all). Their conversations are off-topic at times. Often they leave the decisions unaddressed and problems unsolved that needed resolution.
  • A recent study done by a*+996 consulting firm showed that among high-performing leadership teams, 93% are able to prioritize the most important concerns and 96% are seen as being focused on the right issues.
  • In contrary to this, in low-performing leadership teams, only 62% prioritize the most important concerns well and 53% focus on the right issues.
  • Wasted resources, wasted effort, and widespread confusion become a serious norm for an organization whose leadership team is poorly focused.
  • Effective leadership teams have clearly defined agreements. They barely focus on the most strategic priorities and don’t diverge from them. They stick to well-expressed decision-making processes. And they are often seen deliberately transferring their disciplined focus down through the organization.

2) Unhealthy Rivalries

  • Competition among leaders and their teams is very common. After all, leaders that made it to the top had to distinguish themselves from their peers in order to get the “big jobs.” But a team of extremely individualistic leaders struggling for resources, status, influence, and, most importantly their boss’s job, can rupture the organization beneath them.
  • Once a CEO, loved to promote competition among his team members. He would intentionally set conflicting goals among team members, and though he supposed that this would lead to the prevailing of the best ideas, it actually led the other way to backstabbing and information hoarding.
  • Unhealthy competition corrodes trust. If team members disbelieve the motivations and agendas of teammates, they will act with selfishness, even self-interest, to avoid risking their personal failure. And thus when things don’t go as planned, workers point at each other in the blame game rather than having healthy accountability.
  • When team members don’t trust one another, it’s nearly impossible to take and execute critical decisions. Again, it’s equally complex to ask the remaining of the organization to handle those decisions if everyone else knows they were made by people who aren’t associated.
  • Leadership must operate as a unified force. Shared goals must always be accompanied by shared accountability. A recent study shows that high-performing leadership teams are five times more likely to hold members accountable for shared goals than their low-performing leadership teams.
  • Rivalry thus should always be reduced to external competition only.

3) Infertile or unproductive Conflicts

  • It is often noticed that when conflicts and information are mismanaged by a leadership team, the rest of the organization is bound to follow suit.
  • A study stated that 87% of high-performing leadership teams handled conflict successfully and were transparent, clear, and open with information, while 82% exchanged constructive feedback with each other.
  • Barely 44% of low-performing leadership teams handled conflict successfully and 52% exchanged feedback and were transparent with information.
  • This difference in performance is reflective: employee engagement averaged 87% among the high-performing teams, while among lower-performing teams it dropped to 45%.
  • What should be strictly unacceptable is speaking ill behind one another’s back, holding honest perspectives, or pocketing prohibited decisions after they are made. Leadership teams should indulge in having written norms that they won’t engage in these behaviors, and they should share and publish those norms with the rest of the organization also.
  • Remember when you know the whole organization is watching how well the leadership teams stick to their own rules, they will think twice before breaking them.
  • Serving on a leadership team should be viewed as a matter of privilege and honor. And along with this privilege comes a great responsibility to behave in ways you would be proud to have the rest of the organization imitate and follow suit.



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