IzLegal Illustrated 5 MONSTERS DESTROYING YOUR COMPANY CULTURE How to Dodge the Business Boogeymen This Halloween
When Halloween rolls around, it’s easy to become so preoccupied with the monsters stalking the sidewalks and TV screens that you forget about the everyday boogeymen plaguing your office year-round. While the pillagers of workplace culture don’t wear fake fur, excessive makeup, or rubber masks, they can be just as terrifying as their fictional counterparts. Here’s a list of monsters to watch for, just in time for collecting candy.
BOREDOM: THE MUMMY Though it often creeps up quietly, the boredom mummy is perhaps more damaging to workplace culture than any other monster. If excessive routine has made your office yawn-inducing or has mummified your employees at their desks, a crisis is likely nearby. One CNN article postulated that boredom is “the new stress,” and bored employees are more likely to be unhappy and seek new positions even if they’re still effective. To keep boredom levels in check, automate repetitive tasks, offer new challenges, and encourage communication. GOSSIP: THE WEREWOLF Gossip is like a werewolf. It doesn’t show up every day, but, when it does, it wreaks havoc. Rumors quickly destroy morale, erode relationships, and ramp up workplace tension. Worse, they can cause even the most dedicated employees to quit due to what’s often labeled a “toxic” office culture. Inc. magazine claims zero-tolerance policies, regular meetings to air grievances, and one-on-one discussions with loose-lipped personnel are good strategies to keep the werewolf in check. OVERWORK: THE VAMPIRE While some employees can handle packed schedules and extra work, overloading your entire team or office can be as ambition-sucking as the thirstiest vampire. Too
many tasks can disrupt your team’s work-life balance, keeping your employees up all night and inviting angst, sleepiness, and inefficiency. To stake the vampire, encourage your employees to share concerns about their workloads and embrace flextime. Meanwhile, set a good example by keeping reasonable hours yourself. ABSENTEE MANAGEMENT: THE GHOST An absentee manager can terrorize an office just as effectively as an unhappy ghost. If a manager is there one minute and gone the next, their presence will cause stress for employees, who won’t know them or their expectations well. To keep your managers from causing shrieks and scurries every time they pop in on their charges, ensure they maintain good, consistent relationships with staff and spend regular hours in the office. That way, employees will be more likely to run to them rather than from them. Like the scientist Victor Frankenstein in Mary Shelley’s tale, it’s all too common for businesses to begin projects with the best of intentions, only to create monsters instead of successes. A project that stems from a good idea but lacks realism or follow-through can turn into a money pit for your company and a time-suck for your employees, rearing its ugly head again and again like Frankenstein’s monster — and perhaps even bringing MISGUIDED INITIATIVES: FRANKENSTEIN’S MONSTER
your company down. Try preventing the monster’s rise by investigating all eventualities and assigning specific roles to team members before you put the final stitch in a new initiative. YOUR BEST DEFENSE Unfortunately, this list is a sad reality we all currently deal with or have dealt with at some point. What is your best defense if you’re spooked by one of these monsters year-round? While you may not be able to change everything you don’t like — even if you would rather not deal with it at all — there’s always something you can do to enact change. As we head into the last quarter of the year, take a moment to think about what feels a little “off” at work or at home. Then, rather than dwell on it, create a plan for improvement. Do you need better communication? Nice gestures toward the monsters so they ultimately shed their disguise? Perhaps a more positive outlook or mindset for you personally? Whatever it is, you can do it!
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