Even if you can have an outstanding organizational culture on paper, it’s surprisingly easy for a few bad management practices to unravel it.
Even in a company with an otherwise excellent work culture, poor management practices can have an undermining effect on all the hard work it took to build it.
Let’s take a look at five of these practices, why they’re problematic for engagement and culture, and how you can work to spot them before the damage is done.
1. Punitive focus
Instead of focusing on punishing employees who don’t act in accordance with the guidelines they’ve set or fail to meet their goals, great managers work to find where their own performance can improve.
While punitive measures may produce short-term results, they overwhelmingly inspire resentment and apprehension. Over the long term, it doesn’t pay off.
It’s not often the fault of the team when goals aren’t met — they’re either not given the resources they need to reach that goal, or the goal is too aggressive.
The best managers support their teams and inspire them to embrace accountability naturally by helping them see and appreciate the purpose behind their work.The best managers support their teams and inspire them to embrace accountability naturally by helping them see and appreciate the purpose behind their work.
Lack of diversity is still a glaring issue in modern business, and it’s particularly prevalent among tech companies and startups.
As much as it is a vital social issue, diversity is also a business issue.
Managers are not just missing out on a cultural advantage by hiring and training a homogenous team — they’re missing out on a major strategic advantage. A business with team members that all look, think, and act alike are at greater risk of failure.
The broader skill set and perspective of diverse group of talented individuals is a major asset when challenged with adversity, or presented with opportunity.
Make sure you’re not hiring (or grooming) clones of yourself or your peers. Expand the perspective and the capabilities of your organization by actively seeking out and embracing diversity.
It’s one thing to have outstanding employees that you can expect exceptional performance from, but another thing entirely to continually expect more than they’re able to give.
Individual and organizational goals should be ambitious, but not at the price of driving your team into the ground.
Whether it’s due to an avalanche of small assignments coming in at all hours, or massive assignments that require round-the-clock work, if employees aren’t given opportunities to unplug from work, they’ll eventually burn out, and either disengage or quit.
From the development of company policies, to workload distribution and even hiring decisions, it’s valuable to consider and value balance.
Managers have a responsibility to their teams to be accessible and supportive. This doesn’t mean they should be on call indefinitely (managers are equally susceptible to imbalance), but it is crucial to provide those opportunities for connection with the team. When managers are too busy to provide that, they’re doing their organizations a disservice.
Make sure you’re able to provide your team with the access and guidance they need to excel. If you can’t provide it yourself, it’s time to practice your delegation skills and find someone who can.Managers have a responsibility to their teams to be accessible and supportive.
Although it’s important to give employees the autonomy they need in order to do their best work, it’s equally important for them to have a sense that someone is driving the bus, and that person is competent.
You can’t make the right call every time, but it’s impossible to make the right call without making a call in the first place.