Coworkers in conflict

Stirring the Pot, Part 1: Five Factors of Workplace Dysfunction

Stop and think—what’s going on in your workplace? How do you feel about where you work? How do others feel? Are people truly engaged and committed to what they are doing? OR, are they struggling with the dynamics and simply showing up for the paycheck!

A dysfunctional workplace culture, or lack of a positive one, is likely to contain at least one, if not all of these top five factors of conflict leading to a negative workplace culture:

  1. Personality clashes, people simply not getting along, contribute to 49% of workplace conflict and why workplaces suck!
  2. The stress of work and the stress of coming to or being at work underlies another 34% of conflict at work. This means people are simply unable to cope and lose their cool.
  3. People are struggling underneath incredible workloads, meaning long hours at work, not enough time to get things done, and the high demand for fast turnaround. Workload accounts for 33% of workplace dysfunction.
  4. We are probably all too familiar with the effects of bad bossing; it’s debilitating, demoralizing, and destructive when trying to create a positive workplace culture. The effects of poor leadership, when people who are in charge manage the business but not lead the people accounts for 29% of workplace conflict.
  5. And, surprisingly or not, a lack of honesty or integrity—people not operating with morals and high intensions—contribute to 26% of workplace dysfunction.

What do these top five factors mean to you and your organization? Does it matter that the failure of a positive workplace culture rests on people simply not getting along—not having the tools, skills and abilities to navigate through differences—accounts for nearly half of all workplace dysfunction?

Does it matter that people are feeling stress and overworked in ways that lead to breakdowns in systems, processes and the communication around those breakdowns, making it even more difficult to manage those differences? When combined, these two account for two-thirds of workplace dysfunction.

And, just these three factors alone further spiral in the face of poor leadership. This means that the people in charge further contribute to the dysfunction due to their inability to effectively manage the people portion of doing business. They might be technically smart in what they know, highly credentialed or degreed, but their inability to use their emotional smarts, much less even know what this means, accounts for nearly one-third of workplace dysfunction.

Next week, part 2.

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