No one wants to work in a toxic culture or with dysfunctional coworkers. But ask them why it happens, and very few can name the root cause. There are four overarching patterns of workplace culture.
1. Conflict-Avoidant Culture: Need approval. Underlying fear is rejection. Excessive need to be nice and to take care of everyone, even when they don’t perform. What’s missing is courage (integrity, confidence, and boldness).
2. Autocratic-Dominant Culture: Need power. Underlying fear is vulnerability. Excessive need to be forceful under the guise of protecting the vulnerable. What’s missing is humanity (trust, likability, and empathy).
3. Elite-Bureaucratic Culture: Need status above others. Underlying fear is inferiority. Excessive need for a hierarchy to overcome feelings of inadequacy. What’s missing is resilience (openness, creativity, and inspiration).
4. Chaotic-Narcissistic Culture: Need freedom and attention that arises from rebellion to authority figures. Underlying fear is being trapped in sadness/boredom that comes from previously feeling neglected. Excessive need for the freedom to pursue lofty ideas and delusions. What’s missing is wisdom (perspective, diligence, and focus).
Culture is made up of three layers, represented here by an iceberg:
Behaviors, systems, policies and processes surrounding the way things are done
Ideals, goals, values, and aspirations set by leadership
Underlying assumptions that guide behavior
A leader’s influence on an organization and its culture can be subdivided into three general #culture types:
1. Constructive – encourage the attainment of organizational goals through people development; promote teamwork and synergy; and enhance individual, group, and organizational adaptability and effectiveness.
2. Aggressive/Defensive – lead people to focus on their own needs at the expense of those of their group and organization and lead to stress, turnover, and inconsistent performance.
3. Passive/Defensive – lead people to subordinate themselves to the organization, stifle creativity and initiative, and allow the organization to stagnate.
You cannot run away from yourself, so blaming others is worthless. You are responsible for your thoughts and actions, as well as what unfolds before you. As long as you blame others, you will continue making the same mistakes.
It is not uncommon for us to shift the blame to someone else to avoid feelings of guilt. Unfortunately, this doesn’t solve the underlying issue. When you encounter trouble, take inventory of your attitude and behavior and see if that could be the source of the problem.
Human behavior falls into patterns. Still, no one particular person can produce enough knowledge or insight to explain the totality of the human experience. It’s easy to value material possessions over human life, but life is your greatest gift.
All human accomplishments will one day disappear, so it’s better to live your life wisely. Failing to do so can cause you to become too proud or self-sufficient as it relates to your successes and greatly disappointed with your perceived failure(s).