Combating A Toxic Culture: How To Engage And Inspire Your Team
"Strategy is great. Having talented people is a must. But the real team wins come when culture is working," insists Vanderbloemen CEO & Founder, William Vanderbloemen, in Culture Wins: The Roadmap to an Irresistible Workplace.
Hands down, the best way to engage employees and build a winning team is by combating a toxic culture – and building a healthy one. It is up to organizational or team leaders to create an environment that is driven by excellence, mutual support, and positivity.
Here are five ways to engage and inspire your team and cultivate a positive, productive culture.
1. Allow People to be Themselves
People are different. It's part of human nature, and it means that some employees will work differently than others. Some may be verbal processors; some may need time of quiet; some love systems and processes; others may come up with their best ideas on the fly.
Allow your employees to use their gifts and talents; otherwise they will constantly be looking for a role that allows them to implement their gifts to their fullest potential. Create an environment that allows people to grow their gifts, not suppress them.
2. Allow Room for Growth
People often want to know there are opportunities to move up the ladder. They want to see a clear path for growth that will reward their efforts and their hard work. Provide ample opportunities for individuals to demonstrate their strengths. Identify ways to delegate bigger tasks and roles and most importantly, give them ownership. If they are able to own a project, they will be significantly more invested in its success.
3. Understand the Dignity of Work
We are all called to holiness. We weren’t created to mindlessly complete tasks and duties; we were created to use the gifts God has given us.
When you hire employees, empower them to use those gifts in their work. Work should be more than a way to make a living – it should be an opportunity to glorify God and participate in His creation.
4. Use Gamification
Gamification is a tool we sometimes use here at Vanderbloemen. Gamification is simply putting game design elements to non-game contexts. Is there a goal you need to reach that can be gamified? For example, “We need to send out ‘x’ amount of fliers to the homes in our community. Whoever mails and sends out the most amount of fliers gets a free lunch of their choosing.” Not only are you getting the job done, but you are incorporating some friendly competition. People like to win – even if the reward is something as simple as a free lunch.
5. Encourage Team Interaction
Some leaders run churches like captains on a ship. This style of leadership often doesn’t allow for office friendships or community. This lack of camaraderie can create a stressful work environment.
"If you have a toxic culture and make a sincere attempt to change it, you can save your company. But if you allow a toxic culture to fester, you put your entire company at risk – no matter how big it is," writes Vanderbloemen. It's important for leaders who run offices like captains on a ship to take a good, hard look at their company culture. If no changes are made, it could negatively impact the organization as a whole.
Here's the bottom line: employees produce better work when the office is an environment where they are engaged and inspired. Take a close look at your culture and see what changes you can make to bring the best out of your staff.
How can you change and improve your work environment to better engage and encourage your employees?