One method for stopping a fire is to smother it. Whether with a blanket, dirt or high tech system that removes oxygen from the area on fire, a fire can be extinguished when you remove what is feeding the fire. A bad work culture can do the same thing.
A smothering workplace culture also works to stop the fire that fuels innovation, creativity, and loyalty in the workplace. This unintentional smothering usually comes from an executive or a leader over-exercising control.
A younger workforce working in a business that must thrive to survive with the pace of competition in this economy relies on a work culture that inspires innovation and creative problem-solving. This is a generation that still understands loyalty in the workplace as long as the culture supports their needs and desires for a positive work environment.
Sadly, many long-term managers and small business owners are tone deaf to these needs and smother the internal fire of these employees, driving them to find new jobs or at least stay put but contribute minimally.
When leaders insist on maintaining complete control and refuse to trust “these young kids,” the work culture they are creating is stifling.
Want to know if you are smothering the fire within your employees by too much control?
Ask them to respond anonymously to the following questions:
- How well are suggestions or solutions received by the leaders?
- What culture changes would you recommend to make you and your co-workers feel better about where they work?
- What suggestions would you make to help you and your co-workers perform better at your jobs?
How well you receive those answers and how you respond to those suggestions will be a good indicator if you are more interested in culture or control.