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At Caledon Virtual, we’re a big fan of company culture. We hold culture meetings to ensure that our culture is influencing and motivating our employees. While there are some obvious culture killers, such as bad leadership, lack of direction and motivation, there are some more “silent” killers that break down culture on the sly.

While they can take some time to recognize, it’s important to keep an eye out for these. Check out the 7 silent (but deadly) red flags that could make or break your company culture.

1. Micro-management

Everyone has their own way of working, organizing and coping with the work on their plate. Managing all of this on your own can account for some, if not most, of the stress in our lives. Now, take those things and imagine someone standing over your shoulder and telling you how to get it done, how to organize your work and thoughts, and how to cope with those emotions. Not cool (and even more stressful).

A good leader will encourage you to work how you naturally would and will converse with you when things get heavy. A good leader points you in the right direction but allows you to create your own path. When this happens, everyone wins.

2. Replacing Monetary Compensation with “Praise”.

Let’s face it, in today’s society, we need money to live. If you say your 100% not doing your job for the money, you are kidding yourself. Employees spend 40 hours a week at a full-time job. That’s 2,080 hours a year. Don’t get me wrong, praise from your peers is a great way to stay motivated and to feel like you are making a difference at work, but if praise replaces a paycheck every time, something is wrong. Finding a balance of receiving praise when it is welcomed and turning that praise into monetary compensation is a key to happiness in a workplace.

3. Embarrassment

Along the lines of micro-management, nothing is more de-motivating than when you’re intentionally put on the spot in front of an audience by your fellow employees. Calling people out in front of an audience does nothing but embarrass someone and make everyone else feel entirely uncomfortable. If there’s a problem with an employee, save us all some grace and dignity and have that conversation in private.

4. No Transparency

You’ve heard it over and over again in your work relationships and in your personal relationships—communication is key. Keeping everyone in the loop of projects allows for transparency. How many times has someone went on vacation or found a new job, and then you’re left in a position where you have to pick up all the work they had without any knowledge of where it came from?

Keeping clear processes in line and allowing for lots and lots and lots of communication between departments only makes your job easier in the long run. Imagine if we didn’t have a weather man telling us what to expect each day (especially in Missouri). We’d be wearing flip flops in the rain and driving Prius’s in the snow!

5. Job Insecurity

I couldn’t imagine walking into a work culture everyday where I didn’t know how long I would be there. Would today be my last day? How long do I really have left? Any of these culture killers could contribute to a feeling of job insecurity. It could be that controlling boss who nags you about every little thing. It could be poor communication of where the company stands. When your leaders are straight with you about where you stand, we can take a sigh of relief every now and then and focus on our work at hand.

6. Poor Stress Management and Inflexibility

A good company culture recognizes that a job is stressful. A great company culture recognizes that not only is a job stressful, but so is life, marriage, kids, health problems, etc. There may be certain times in life where your job is not your number one priority, and that’s okay! Aspects of a job, like flexibility, paid-time off, culture-related activities and break times, really make the stress of life and the job a little more bearable.

7. Arrogance

This point is coming from a personal place. I don’t respond well when someone is so caught up in their ego that they can’t acknowledge another person’s expertise and advice. Being an agency, it’s possible for you to come across both clients and agencies with some sort of arrogance.
When someone’s ego is so big that they (1) can’t admit mistakes, (2) make decisions based on if it’s going to get themselves ahead, and (3) can’t take advice or help for others, then it becomes harmful to the company and the people around them.

Working with fellow employees who are truly there for the betterment of the company and love their job and the people they work with make a job so much more rewarding.

There you have it: seven of the most blatantly honest culture killers that every company can avoid. Simply avoiding these can strengthen a company culture a great amount but getting caught up in any of these can tear culture apart as quickly as a tornado can tear through a home. If you’re going to ask someone to spend 2,080 hours a year in an office, it might as well be an enjoyable experience.