Removing the Culture Killer

Apr 5, 2021 | Blog, Employees, Management

A single culture killer can disrupt the performance of everyone on your team, if you let that person’s behavior persist.

culture killer is a person who’s strong personality plus bad behavior combine to form a poison that slowly (or quickly) infects the output and attitudes of the team and the larger organization.

This is more than just a theory or experience share, it has been proven scientifically.

Recently, I read a study that showed how just one person can stop an entire team in their tracks.

The Science Behind Team Dynamics

In this scientific study, four groups of people were brought together to perform a task and solve a problem. In each group an “actor” was planted amongst the team, to portray a certain bad attitude.

One actor behaved like a depressed negative person who whined and put his head down on the table the entire time. A second actor was loud mouthed and belligerent. The other two actors portrayed other forms of performance-killing behavior.

After an hour, the group with the depressing actor had all given up, with most of them hanging their heads down on the table. And the group with the belligerent actor were all fighting each other getting nothing accomplished except hurt feelings.

Discover how one culture killer can disrupt the performance of your entire team. Click To Tweet

I was shocked when I read this study, how one person could influence an entire team to give up and put their heads down. Wow. Imagine an employee on one of your teams who is “acting” poorly yet allowed to persist.

The shocking factor of this study: the culture killers were not all strong personalities, some of them were passively holding back their teams, and that was all it took for the entire team to give up.

3 Truths Regarding High Performance

  1. Your team culture and performance will sink to the lowest denominator behavior that you allow to persist.
  2. The person who is allowed to make the most mistakes and break the most rules will set the bar for everyone else.
  3. High expectations work only when everyone is held to the same high standards.

Your Challenge:

Maintaining a strong culture in the hectic-ness of spring.

For example, a client called me recently and asked, “Should I hold on to two of my drivers who are repeatedly damaging my equipment and causing my operations manager heartache?” He was wondering out loud what to do given how incredibly busy he was.

Here is what I said: These two drivers are causing more underlying damage than you can see, it is not just the cost of repairing equipment, but it is the degradation of morale and performance of any crew or team they touch or support. Moreover, the distraction of your operations manager having to focus on remedial problems instead of focusing on your clients and better employees is a terrible waste of time and resources. It is not a question of “if” you let them go, but “how fast” can you?

Stay vigilant and make the tough decisions, your good people will thank you, support you, and pay you back with heightened performance.