How an Organizational Culture of Secrets Can Hold You Back

A woman is about to whisper...gossip?

Most companies today know and fully accept that a trustworthy organization welcomes, heeds and acts upon feedback while valuing open and honest communication. Many even incorporate that worthy concept into their company values.

And most leaders give lip service to their intention to support open and truthful communications. But what goes on behind the scenes—on secretive phone calls, in the break room, or on instant messaging? If you have even one team member indulging in gossip, you have a problem…one that could undermine an entire team.

Teams with secrets are teams that cannot live up to their full potential. When gossip is allowed, morale drops, employee engagement suffers and overall team performance decreases. And one team can infect another; the disease can spread so that the entire company culture becomes toxic.

Gossip prevents effective communication on workplace issues, isolates co-workers and can even result in legal action. It can destroy work relationships or even careers. It is your job as leader to stop gossip in its tracks.

Here are three steps to take to create a more open, honest and effective corporate culture:

  1. Clean up your own act.
    Make sure you, as a leader, set the right example. Do not ever engage in a conversation about a team member without inviting them to join. You should not say anything or write anything that you would not want published to the entire team the next morning. If you want an open and high performing environment, you need to model the way conversations are to be handled…directly and with empathy. Be willing to tell the truth even if it means having a difficult conversation. Begin to build the foundation of trust by leading the way.
  2. Establish guidelines with your team.
    Be clear about why you insist on a gossip-free team and that you will hold everyone accountable to that goal. When team members understand the negative consequences, they will be more supportive and help create the “rules” for engagement. Feedback should be given directly to the co-worker, honestly and with the intention to improve the colleague’s behavior. These conversations should be frank but respectful, safe with no repercussions, and allow space and time for reflection.
  3. Agree upon steps for change.
    Once the feedback has been delivered and received, there should be a follow-up discussion about what changes are recommended to improve the situation. Giver and receiver should agree upon what steps could be taken. Often it requires both to work on their behavior. A micro-managing boss, for example, will need to back off while the overly controlled team member should prove that they are fully capable of handling the job on their own. Both should be held accountable to ensure progress is being made.

Don’t let office gossip or behind-the-back conversations sabotage your organizational culture. See that your employees are free to give even uncomfortable feedback openly and with the promise of constructive action.

Read about 6 more traps that can sabotage yourself as a leader

Share:
Facebook Twitter Google+ Email LinkedIn

Comments are closed.

We consider LSA our true business partner in the areas of Learning and Organizational Development. From Strategic Planning to Presentation Skills and Management Training, they continue to provide excellent value and extremely high quality solutions – not just one time events. I recommend them to anyone looking to drive true business results.

Michelle A. Mitchell
Vice President, Worldwide Human Resources

RiverStone-large-gray

Working with LSA Global has proven to be extremely valuable and worthwhile. LSA understands our business, has deep expertise in content areas, and tailors the programs to deliver great results. The facilitator was extremely knowledgeable about Working Globally with India and her energy and passion made the session interesting, fun, and enjoyable for all that attended. The participants walked away extremely pleased along with highly useful practices and tools. I would highly recommend LSA Global to any company that has partners or offices in India.

Glenn McGillivray
Human Resources Business Partner

Intuit

The refreshing thing about LSA is that they focus on understanding our business situation and helping me succeed instead of selling a product. With over 150 experts, they are an invaluable resource that helps me deliver higher quality results faster. I recommend them to anyone looking to improve the performance of their workforce.

Stacie Rodgers
VP of Human Resources

Cutera

On behalf of Roche and my staff I would like to sincerely thank you for your help with this. The English as a Second Language (ESL) assessment and coaching that you provided for our team was a great success.

Cam Greig
Associate Director

Roche

LSA’s customized Effective Presentation Skills program has helped me elevate my presentation skills to the next level. I now have a much greater self-awareness of my presentation skills and can leverage off of my strengths while working to improve upon other areas. I would definitely recommend this solution to anyone for whom business presentations are an integral part of their job.

Jim Elliott
Senior Marketing Manager

Samsung

Each program is preceded by an assessment of the participants. The course is then designed to fit the specific parameters and needs of the group. The highly interactive delivery is provided by recognized experts in their fields. On the spot coaching is provided during the program and each participant receives individual follow-up after the course. Courses can be delivered in-person or virtually. Given the nature of Cisco’s business and the way we operate, these remote workshops are a must for anyone who joins our company. Their work is eye opening. Great content and fantastic delivery.

Frank J. Kuypers
Business Development Manager

cisco-large

I continue to be impressed by the level of leadership development and management expertise and quality of advice and facilitation that LSA has to offer. What a smart and client-centric group of great people who really know how to help leaders attract, engage, develop and retain top talent.

Tracy Esposito
Director, HR Business Partner

sonycomputer-large

LSA helped change our entire culture around meetings, making them more effective and efficient, thus enabling us to concentrate on driving more business.

Terry Wassman
VP of Human Resources

cholestech-large

Understanding and conforming to legal compliance was very important to our company. We turned to LSA Global to provide a quality and cost effective way to ensure that we were AB 1825 compliant. Their interactive eLearning program was top-notch. It allowed our managers to learn at their own pace, and on their own time. The program was tailored to include our logo and our internal harassment policies. It was interactive and met all federal and state legal requirements. I would highly recommend LSA Global to any company looking for an efficient and effective and top quality way to train their managers to be in compliance.

Kelly Warren, SPHR
Director, HR & Compliance

aeroprecision-large

I consistently look to LSA Global when I need custom programs put together for my client groups. I can always count on LSA to do a thorough needs analysis and to put together spectacular programs that are well received. Their management development and performance management expertise and professionalism make them one of my top-rated learning and development partners.

Stephanie Webb
HR Program Manager

Rambus

We signed up with LSA early on–as their 22nd Member! Since then, our organization’s learning needs have increased and decreased and increased again with the changing times. The beauty of the LSA business model is its flexibility…when we needed to supplement our own internal resources, we used LSA services knowing that we could depend on the outstanding quality of the leadership development and management training programs they provide.

Margie Bunting
HR Manager

Siemens-large-gray

I have worked with other training companies and found it to be more of a seller/buyer relationship than one of matching the right expertise to our business issues. That’s what LSA does – ask the hard questions, listen, and understand our business needs. We receive the benefit of their expertise from assistance with personal development plans to enhancing team performance, to looking at enterprise-wide challenges. It’s all about helping our business succeed as we grow. Right now, LSA is providing great ideas, a fresh approach, and valuable guidance as we develop our management team and accelerate our client relationship management results.

Kristin Westland-Kaune
Director, Team Development

Logo - Gray - Tellme

We recently contacted LSA Global to assist us with a unique training request. We gave LSA a very short deadline and LSA custom designed a training program to meet our exact requirements within the limited time allotted to them. We found their facilitator to be well versed in the subject matter and very credible; the design provided practical and valuable information to our team of managers. I highly recommend LSA Global, particularly in the area of management training.

Julaine K. Souza
Senior Vice President

OldRepublic-large-gray

LSA custom designed a Management Development program that is absolutely “on target” for our technical managers. Their facilitator has done a superb job delivering the material in a way that is fast paced, highly interactive, and fun. She presents practical solutions to the people situations that our managers face every day. I regard LSA as an excellent partner that understands our business needs and a virtual member of our HR department.

Judith Onton
Vice President Human Resources

cortina-large

In my years working with LSA, it seems like I’ve had a personal consultant at my fingertips to help me identify just the right solution to satisfy our needs. The entire LSA team has become a trusted friend of Actel — assuring we provide state-of-the-art learning to meet our complex, high-tech business and people needs.

Linda Mitchell
Training Manager

actel-large

Evaluate your Performance

Toolkits

Toolkits

Download key published insights and tools from industry experts highlighting best practices in the areas of talent, strategy and culture.

More

Health Checks

Health Checks

Want to know how you stack up against leading organizations?  Receive a complimentary benchmarking analysis courtesy of an LSA Expert.

More

Whitepapers

Whitepapers

Get up to speed on timely solutions critical to your business. Published by LSA Experts based upon client feedback and key industry trends.

More

Methodology

Methodologies

First we identify the key metrics you want to improve. Then we assemble a dedicated team of elite experts who have successfully solved similar problems with similar clients.

More

icon_expert-blog

Blogs

Stay up to do date with the latest information on how we help high growth companies align their culture and talent with strategy.

More

Case Studies

Client Case Studies

Real world consulting and training approaches from LSA projects, providing insights on how your company can outperform the competition.

More