20 Dumb Things Organizations Do

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Nothing kills a good organizational vibe more quickly than rules that shouldn't be rules or meetings for the sake of meetings. Brad Lomenick lists 20 things companies do to completely ruin morale.

As leaders, we always are trying our best to create momentum, good morale, team spirit, vision -- and an overall spirit of enthusiasm on our teams and in our offices.

Here are a few small things that have the potential to kill company morale quickly:

  1. Bad tissue in the bathrooms- No one wants the equivalent of sandpaper at the office. Invest in the good stuff.
  2. Charging for Coffee- Seriously. A bad decision all the way around. And while I'm at it, most companies should quit charging for snacks. Spend a couple hundred bucks to create a free snack bin.
  3. Standardized Approach to your Office or Cube- Let your team add some flare to their area. Please.
  4. Bad Art (or no art) on the Walls- I love Successories, but come on, let's shoot for some actual real art on the walls, not just cheesy leadership posters made for the dentist waiting room or elementary school principal's offices.
  5. A Faulty Copier or Printer- I think there is an international conspiracy to make all copiers bad.
  6. Bad Furniture- Especially uncomfortable chairs or desks that belong in a junkyard. And please get rid of the fake trees!!
  7. Technology Issues- Computer issues, incompetent IT people, and slow responses will cripple your team. Invest here or else.
  8. Public Recognition That is Incorrect- Make sure you know who actually did a great job before handing out the kudos at the company picnic or staff meeting to the wrong person. This is a total demotivator.
  9. A New Policy Every Week- Whether it is expense reports, insurance, office furniture, parking, kitchen etiquette, IT, pets, pranks, profits, spouses, travel, meals, hiring, firing, vacation, talking, sleeping, phones, dating, child care, meetings, conference rooms, dish policy, management, health care, reporting, new forms, recycling, etc., etc., etc. Change is good, but can quickly overwhelm the system. Constant change can be incredibly draining.
  10. Fun Police- There is one in every company, and their entire reason for living is to make you feel guilty for any kind of fun in the office. Punch them directly in the throat. Just kidding, sort of. And of course the IT/Tech guy who blocks every helpful internet download or interesting website is a real joy to have around.
  11. Reserved Parking Spaces- My thoughts here always lead back to the movie Office Space. Reserve spaces for guests and customers, but give up on the reserved spot for the employee of the month.
  12. Reality Deprivation- Especially by those in charge. Lack of objectivity and proper perspective can lead to really bad decisions, and ultimately, keeping really bad policies and bad objectives in place because of a complete unawareness of reality. Many times ignoring reality can lead to drastic issues, and potentially a sharp decline in a thriving core business because of lack of self awareness.
  13. Too Many Meetings- If you are an executive or team leader, this is usually your fault, because you feel like you need to schedule meetings in order to seem busy. Stop it. When in doubt, don't meet. Just execute. Don't talk more about it. Just get it done. No one needs more meetings. No one.
  14. Unmet Promises- I'm guilty of this one. I admit it, and it is a morale killer. Leaders, don't throw out promises you can't keep because you feel like the leadership moment demands it. Hold your tongue, or be prepared to deliver.
  15. Unnecessary Dress codes- This one creates more water cooler talk than maybe anything else. If you can be casual, then just be casual.
  16. Punishing All for the Sake of One- Another one I've been guilty of before. Instead of confronting one person regarding an issue, a whole new company policy or nasty email is created or sent geared towards the whole team, but everyone on the team knows its meant for only one person.
  17. Catering to the Brown Nosers- This happens all the time. And usually everyone is aware of who the brown nosers are except the boss. This drives the get-it-done type leaders crazy.
  18. A reward that Doesn't Fit the Accomplishment- You just brought in a $100,000 client... here's a $50 gift card to Applebees. Or you save the company $75,000 in expenses... Thanks for the new mousepad and 2 free movie tickets.
  19. Sending an official printed "memo" to all staff as a reprimand- Really??
  20. Inviting feedback but then punishing those who give it- This happens way more often than it should. In an attempt to have an "open door" policy as an organization, a survey is sent or a question is raised in a staff meeting. And of course someone speaks up, but then that person is relegated to the "bad list." Don't punish the messenger, or reward them. Just be willing to listen to them. 

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