In the workplace, there should be no us versus them. Everyone is on the same team. The workplace consists of hourly and salary employees. There are managers or leaders and there are individual contributors. Everyone has a role to play. Each person has a job to do to support the organization. All employees are working towards the same goal, the success of the business. United. One team. One goal.
Why is there division among these two groups? Is it reality or perception? My hunch is that it is a bit of both. This type of business culture is damaging to morale and engagement and ultimately, retention.
What causes this type of behavior or attitude in the workplace? Oftentimes, it is a historical pattern of entitled management. Historically, businesses ran on a do-as-I-say premise. Those days are gone, long gone. Why do you suppose anyone in an organization thinks they are better or more important than anyone else in the business? It happens because businesses allow it to happen. A word of advice to business leaders…figure out how to change those behaviors.
For teams to be united, organizations must build a united culture. As with most things in business, it starts at the top. If business owners or leaders feel they have some superior power over others, it will be incredibly difficult for others in the organization to feel part of the team.
Businesses must first start by hiring, investing and training their leaders, including CEOs and owners. All CEOs and business owners should hire a coach. They should hire someone to help them relate to their teams. CEOs/owners must first understand the value of these relationships before they can work on themselves to be better leaders.
Next, anyone in an organization that had direct reports should be continuously trained and coached on their leadership skills. Teach all leaders of people how to effectively communicate and how to lead with some compassion. As leaders, we must constantly learn and evolve. Leaders must always keep their word and always hold themselves accountable first.
Don’t get me wrong, there are times when leaders need to have some difficult conversations but there is a right and a wrong way to have those conversations. That said, doing it the wrong way is damaging and that damage is tough to repair.
If you want teams to be united, all team members must know:
- They have a voice
- That their leader will listen
- They will be treated fairly and consistently, regardless of their position in the org
- Their leaders will be transparent and honest
- Competition is great but malicious behavior is unacceptable at any level
- Communication is key
- Not me or you but us
- The entire team is accountable for business performance
- Encourage and empower each other
- You are all in this together
- United. One team. One goal.
Encourage and teach leaders to celebrate the wins together as a
team. At the same time, learn from the losses, together, as a team. Learn and improve. Do not blame, ever. Do not dwell on the loss. Learn and move on, together.
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