5. “Did you hear what (Employee A) said about (Employee B)?” Gossip and communication that degrades others can create a toxic workplace environment. If your employees are experiencing the scorn of another employee, or if management knowingly tolerates gossip about others, then you have employees who will give just enough effort to get by, Prosser says.”Wherever there are secrets or anything that cannot be discussed at any level of an organization, you will find a dysfunctional organization that’s unable to focus on what matters.”
6. “What mission statement? Why should I care?” Have an unannounced conversation with all members of your team. Ask them to tell you the mission or vision statement of your company. If you’re lucky, maybe 5% will be able to give you a credible answer. As for the rest, you’ll have difficulty getting them to understand the relevance of the company’s mission, much less motivate them to implement it. In order for employees to be effective, says Prosser, they must understand where they fit and how their job impacts overall contribution to the desired outcome.”
7. “They treat us like crap.” “Uncivil behavior hits squarely at the bottom line, because those who are on the receiving end nearly always report responding in a negative way,” says Prosser. “Employees who feel that they’re being treated badly will put forth the bare minimum of effort. Their negative attitude will be all too evident to customers. And they’ll probably jump ship at the earliest opportunity. The solution is clear: Treat your employees at every level with civility and respect. Make sure all supervisors do the same. No excuses.”
8. “It’s the same old story.” If grandiose pronouncements for new initiatives or goal challenges are falling on deaf ears, or are received with rolling eyes and sighs of annoyance, it means one thing: Your employees have heard it all before. Prosser says, “No one wants to feel manipulated into thinking that what you’re putting forth is brand new. It rarely is. There are too many options available for good people to stick with leaders who aren’t serious about being authentic.”
9. “Because he’s (or she’s) the boss. That’s why.” A patriarchal and paternalistic culture exists in far too many companies. In this type of business culture there are the haves (who have the answers) and the have-nots (who have no power). “Employees buy into a patriarchal and paternalistic business culture because it lets them off the hook,” explains Prosser. “They can avoid having to make promises and take action, and they feel that they have ‘permission’ to wait until someone tells them what to do. That creates a dependency on receiving orders from leadership, and those employees can’t execute your strategy because they won’t take responsibility for causing things to happen.”
10. “We’ve always done it this way.” Old paradigms, nonexistent “visions,” and limiting, inflexible business models, keep your employees from moving your business forward. “A rigid belief system that creates inflexible boundaries around what is possible for the future makes employees feel stifled. When employees can’t see how or where they can improve their position in life and can’t perceive a future for themselves that doesn’t look and feel a lot like the past, they become apathetic,â€ says Prosser. Â “Employees who haven’t been shown that they can grow, develop, and expand their opportunities within the organization–so that they have a sense of control over their own possible future–will lose interest in what you want,” he adds.
If any of the conversations in this list sound familiar, take them seriously, concludes Prosser. “They are likely the reason your employees are disconnected from you, from your vision, from your mission, from the strategy for your company, and from the needs of your customers. They are the cause of your Execution Virus.”