A silent riptide tears apart some organizations: unspoken values that shape the behaviors of employees. We may say we value principles, yet when counter-productive behaviors are rewarded, poor performance is certain.
Here are the 3 most common unspoken values that plague most workplaces:
Activity is more important than excellence. Daily calendars filled with meetings give the false impression of industriousness. Even intelligent leaders who know their team needs the resource of time to perform at high levels default to the organization’s unspoken value: Being busy is more important than being productive.
Career safety is valued more than innovation. It’s like a bad comedy: “We need innovation!” is preached, yet the cost of failing to deliver on demands from your boss is a higher price than not delivering improvements to the business. Companies plod along as employees shun risks in favor of career safety.
Keep the executives happy is prioritized over truth-telling. Everyone says they value transparency, yet the unspoken value of “don’t-make-them-angry” makes it abundantly clear what is most important: Forget about pleasing the customer – delight the boss.
Organizations preach values as our moral standards. Yet, as leaders, it’s worth asking your team: What behaviors are most rewarded?