Perhaps the #1 Task to Improve Culture Tenfold

By May 15, 2023 No Comments
improve culture by removing bad leaders

Over the years we’ve written a lot about culture. We are culture nerds, culture advocates, and spend all of our day working on organizational and team culture. We want to improve culture everywhere… yours, ours, everyone’s. If we do this, work is a better place to spend our time. Productivity goes up, mental health is improved, etc. Many great things can come from this effort to improve culture.

Not to mention everyone in HR leadership and management and leadership thought leadership has jumped on the wagon to improve culture everywhere. This isn’t anything new.

At Snowfly, we have plenty of automated tools to help organizations improve culture. We help with the motivation, incentives, and the rewards part of the massive equation with tools to help you with employee recognition and our very popular reloadable cash card (also known as a reloadable debit card). We have awesome tools to help you measure, and improve, various metrics in your operation as they relate to employee engagement.

We consult with various organizations, large and small, from tech to the manufacturing, from call center operations to hospitality… we live in culture. And, of course, we want you to use our tools to improve your culture in a meaningful, measurable, sustainable way.

On this blog we’ve talked about culture over a hundred times. But there’s one thing I don’t think we’ve talked about. This is a less-fun conversation but perhaps the most important conversation you can have about building, preserving, and protecting your culture initiatives. There’s no easy way to sugar coat this one, so here goes:

To improve culture, remove any manager or leader who is not building, supporting, and moving your culture in the right direction. As soon as humanly possible.

No duh, right? Everyone knows this. This is not calculus, nor is it any big secret.

Remove the bad ones. I’m not saying these are bad people. Maybe they bring really important skills and talents to your organization. But if the way they act, the way they treat others, is hurting your cultural initiatives, you must remove them.

Letting bad leaders and managers stay at your organization is jeopardizing that intangible you need to build and sustain. A positive, good, healthy culture is a place where the entire team wants to contribute. A negative, bad, sick culture is an environment where your best performers, even your regular-but-solid performers, can’t wait to leave.

You can do a thousands things right to improve culture at your organization, or on your team. If you allow a bad leader or manager to stay, though, none of that matters. The message you’ll give is “culture is super important, except for Jim… Jim’s so good he can do whatever he wants. Just leave Jim alone and let him do his job.”

When Jim gets a pass, and becomes an exception, the message is that your culture really isn’t that important. And when Jim gets a pass, others get a pass. Your team looks at your initiatives and thinks, well, it’s important, but not THAT important. There are exceptions.

This is the example you are setting. And it is toxic.

Jim has to go. I’m sorry, and I know it will be hard to replace him, but at an extreme it’s either replace Jim or replace everyone else.

I know this is hard. It’s embarrassing. And it has to be handled very well…. aside from how to let a leader go, you want to make sure the leader you bring in does what they need to, in contrast to the leader you let go. You need to carve out time to strategize, plan, and communicate this change.

I have worked at various organizations where leaders have seemingly gone against what was professed… the culture, the messaging, the values, the mission and vision statement. And no one wants to make a change. No one above them has the courage to do what needs to be done.

As I’ve lived through this, and talked to friends in similar situations, we’ve talked about this as a cancer. The most important thing to do to improve culture in a situation like this is to remove the cancer before the cancer grows and gets worse.

Please be courageous and remove the cancer to protect your culture.

Want to chat about this? We’d love to be a resource for you.

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Jason Alba

Jason Alba

I'm passionate about building great cultures. I love respect in the workforce, especially respect that is earned. I love strategic management, leadership, and vision. I love healthy companies through profitability. I love employee engagement, employee performance, and employee satisfaction. I love how Snowfly can help YOUR organization work towards all of these things.

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