Office Culture – not about coffee and muffins

I had an interesting lunch with a man that has been running his own, very successful, business for over 25 years. I was telling him the most common topic that I hear about is office morale and the general decrease in the standards of behaviour amongst colleagues. He made a very interesting statement –

Business owners have the exact work environment they want because they set the bar.

In his experience, some owners want a collaborative approach where everyone can speak up and feel as though they are part of the bigger picture. These owners want an engaged and productive work force that will bring out the best in each other. These environments do not permit inter-colleague smear campaigns or office tantrums because the owner will not tolerate them.

Whereas he felt that other owners of his acquaintance liked the element of control that fear and office unpredictability bring. He said the red flag for him is when an owner justifies any and all behaviour as “I’m the owner so I can do what I want”. This is clearly not someone comfortable listening to and collaborating with their workforce and these environments should be avoided if at all possible.

In view of these comments from someone with over 25 years of business ownership behind them and in view of the conversations I have had with dozens of you over the last few months I think it is safe to say:

If you are an owner that thrives in an environment that promotes unease and office bickering you might as well forgo the coffee and muffins because your employees see it for exactly what it is – hypocrisy. Morale band-aids are pointless because collaborative and open communication are not part of your office culture and your employees know it.

For you amazing leaders out there that really are setting the bar personally and professionally, keep doing it! Your business will continue to thrive as the level of employee engagement and satisfaction at work remains constant. Your employees are motivated – they are there for you and your business because you are there for them.

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