The culture of any organization is shaped by the worst behavior the leader is willing to tolerate.
By Candace Coleman, CultureWise Content Manager The title of this article is a famous line from School Culture Rewired by Steve Gruenert and Todd Whitaker, a book about creating a positive educational environment. Interestingly, the quote is most frequently cited by business leadership experts because it resonates even louder in the professional world. That’s because a company’s culture becomes more entrenched than those that occur in classrooms where populations rotate annually. Unlike teachers, CEOs don’t have the option of cultural do-overs with a fresh crop of employees every year. As a result, a few rogue employees can entirely contaminate an organization’s culture over time. Unfortunately, such conditions may compel good employees to look for greener pastures while the bad actors tend to stick around.
The High Cost of Poor Workplace BehaviorThe scenario is familiar. A high-performing or important employee with a track record of disruptive or even hurtful actions in the workplace continues to carry on unchecked. Their boss doesn’t call them out because of their perceived value to the organization. They think they can’t afford to lose this person’s contributions—so they choose to let things slide. This decision has three serious side effects despite the offender’s rain-making ability:
- The staff loses confidence and trust in their leader
- The company culture suffers severe damage
- A weakened public perception of the business