Company culture plays an invaluable role in employee performance and satisfaction, and often it is organizational leaders who are at the forefront of implementing and maintaining a cohesive company culture. While fear-based workplace cultures used to dominate corporations and small businesses alike, the emergence of leadership development programs has shown us that leaders who delegate, coach, support, and treat their employees as part of a team and a community see higher rates of long-term productivity, worker satisfaction, and positive impacts on organizational bottom lines.
Some signs you work at a company that operates with a fear-based workplace culture include:
You spend your workdays in constant fear of unpleasant interactions, being punished for your mistakes, or even losing your job
You and your colleagues are not a unified, cohesive team - there is a lack of camaraderie and collaboration
Mistakes are punished instead of being used as a learning experience
Conformity is valued over innovation
There is a lack of upward mobility within the company
Communication in your workplace is consistently poor or one-way
Employees often feel dehumanized and micromanaged
There are taboo work-related topics of conversation that no one feels comfortable discussing, especially around their leaders
Working in an environment with the above qualities can have serious detrimental effects at both the employee and organizational level. These include:
High levels of stress, which can be damaging to employee physical and mental health, leading to more sick days and decreased productivity
Diminished intrinsic motivation, creativity, ability to think critically and make executive decisions independently
Incentive to cheat, lie, take shortcuts and partake in unethical behavior
Employees feeling isolated and alone in the workplace, which can lead to disengagement and depression.
Thankfully, there has been a huge shift in recent years to corporate cultures that emphasize emotional intelligence, mindfulness, and collaboration. However it is important to recognize a fear-based workplace culture where it exists and make the necessary efforts to redirect organizational thinking for a happier, healthier, more productive workforce and an overall improved bottom line.