8 Dysfunctions That Undermine Company Culture

corporate culture, dysfunction



Do you recognize any of these archetypal energies in your workplace culture?

Business Dysfunction #1 – Shortsightedness

Inside shortsighted companies, leaders lack a clear vision, and employees are confused about the general direction in which the company is heading. With an emphasis on short-comings and deficits, these companies lack an inspired purpose. Consequently, they are problem-focused and often lose sight of the big picture.

The leadership style driving the dysfunction of shortsightedness is the Aloof Expert who spends most of the time in her head in the land of theories, ideas, abstractions.

Business Dysfunction #2 – Fear & Panic

These companies play it safe. They are risk-adverse and avoid failure at all costs, focusing on avoiding the worst case scenario, favoring comfort over growth and innovation at a cost of obsolescence.

The leadership type behind these companies are Worry Warts, who are very loyal, stable individuals. Unfortunately, they tend to be hyper-vigilant of potential threats and skeptical of almost all information.

Business Dysfunction #3 – Busy Distraction

In contrast to Fear and Panic companies, Busy Distraction companies find it hard to get in a groove. These companies want to be creative and innovative but don’t have the disciplined processes that foster focus and follow through. “Squirrel!”

The Disorganized Dreamer heads these companies as very inspirational and undisciplined: they can inspire others with magnificent ideas but don’t finish what they start.

Business Dysfunction #4 – Control & Micromanagement

In these workplaces, employees feel tightly controlled and micromanaged. It’s not necessarily that the policies and procedures are tightly monitored (although that could be the case); rather, employees can never seem to do anything right. Either their work is criticized as not good enough or their bosses take over their projects and tasks because “if they want it done, they’ll do it themselves”. These companies are short on employee appreciation and long on cracking the whip.

There are two types of leadership styles that can contribute to the Control & Micromanagement dysfunction: the Persnickety Perfectionist and the Pushy Power-Grabber. The Persnickety Perfectionist is a “black and white” thinker who focuses on flaws, criticizing and rarely praising because nothing is ever good enough. The Pushy Power-Grabber is demanding, blunt, angry, intimidating and subject to angry outbursts who desires control.

Dysfunction #5 – Disconnection & Withdrawal

With this dysfunction, things move slowly or not at all because being non-confrontational is valued. Being “nice” is rewarded with less concern for getting results. Goals might be set, but there is no penalty for failing to achieve them. Decisions are delayed or not made at all. Policies mean nothing as exceptions become the rule to keep the peace.

The leader in this company type is a Peacemaker at all costs, who avoids ruffling feathers by appeasing whoever cries the loudest. Consequently, leaders in this company don’t stand firm on anything.

Dysfunction #6 – Over-care with Lack of Accountability

This dysfunction emphasizes being helpful to others. Sounds good until you see the downsides. Leaders fail to delegate appropriately because they rescue employees by making excuses for them and/or picking up employees’ slack instead of holding them accountable. Out of the blue, the leader blows her stack because she suddenly feels taken advantage in spite of creating the situation with poor boundaries in the first place.

The corresponding leader type for the Over-care dysfunction is the Martyr. This is the person who gives and gives and gives until realizing they are not getting reciprocity, at which time they can give you a piece of her mind!

Dysfunction # 7 – Workaholic Culture

This workplace often sets huge goals and pushes its employees to get there no matter what. Failure is not an option, and peer pressure enforces showing that you’re working harder and longer than anyone else. There is nothing wrong with stretch goals and achieving great things. However, here it is all-consuming without an emphasis on guiding principles.

The leadership style that tends to drive the Workaholic Culture is the Overachieving & Ambitious Chameleon, who outwardly displays all the trappings of success – the house, the car, cool vacations – while feeling like a failure on the inside — always driven to prove herself.

Dysfunction #8 – Irresponsibility

In these companies, no one accepts accountability, responsibility, or ownership or displays integrity. It’s everyone else’s fault.

The leadership type is the Misunderstood Misanthrope, a “tortured soul” who wants to be unique and edgy but accepted by the mainstream at the same time.

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