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The 4 Deadly sins of work culture


Mental wellbeing

In a podcast from June 2022, Adam Grant, American author and professor of organizational psychology explains the 4 deadly sins of work culture.

At Siffi we talk a lot about the importance of creating a well being culture in companies.
But before we even start focusing on deep health related topics, it is essential to recognize the impact other behaviors that may, at first, seem unrelated to mental health, have on the overall well being of a team.

According to Grant, there are 4 traits that, if demonstrated by the management, will destroy any effort a company makes to create a positive and health culture in the workplace.

1. Toxicity

We observe toxicity when a company chose to value results over everything else, and at all cost.
As long as KPIs are met, the way people are treated or treat each other does not matter. If people bring results, they will advanced.

According to a 2022 survey by McKinsey on Toxicity in the workplace, more than 60% of negative workplace outcomes (burnout symptoms, intent to leave) are due to toxic workplace behaviors.

Some “obvious” toxicity behaviours are yelling, bullying or belittling. Others are more sly like omitting to invite someone to a meeting that impacts them, withholding important information, micromanagement or encouraging gossips…

2. Mediocracy

We see mediocracy in companies which, on the contrary, are only valuing personal relationships over results and will advantage someone who is more liked rather over someone who deliver better work.

Management that avoids confrontation, are always going with “the way it’s always been done” and favour team members they have relationships with, tend to create a culture of mediocracy in which people stay because of the comfort rather than the inspiration, healthy challenge or opportunity to thrive.

3. Bureaucracy

Ever got an idea killed by the amount of paperwork you had to fill in to put it in motion?
That is the sin of bureaucracy. When there are so many rules that creativity is nipped in the bud.

4. Anarchy

Of course, without any rules… it is chaos.
Some company are all about “freedom” and lack the structure that will make people feel safe. Without restrictions, guidelines or even common values, a culture of anarchy can quickly kill any sense of belonging or team spirit and cultivate an ‘all for themselves’ mindset.


Do you recognize any of these traits in your team?

Check out our piece on how to build a strong company culture and hopefully avoid those sins!

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