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THE 4 WAYS CEOS ACCIDENTALLY MESS UP COMPANY CULTURE


MOST CEOS TRY TO CREATE AN ENVIRONMENT WHERE EMPLOYEES CAN THRIVE, BUT SOMETIMES THEY FAIL. HERE'S WHAT TO AVOID.

BY BARRY S. SALTZMAN

It's no secret that CEOs have a massive impact on company culture. They set a tone to reflect the values and convictions of the organizations they lead. But sometimes CEOs take that impulse too far and wind up unintentionally throwing their companies' culture off kilter. Here are the four most common ways that can happen.

1. THEY MICROMANAGE

Most CEOs like to make sure everything is just right, but they're very busy people with a lot on their plates. Often without meaning to, some CEOs turn to micromanaging their employees, making managers' working lives a nightmare. There comes a time when CEOs have to trust their teams to do tasks the right way—and to give them space to breathe. A CEO that can't strike the right balance risks creating a suffocating culture.

2. THEY’RE INCONSISTENT

CEOs need a steady hand. When they don't, employees are quick to notice if there’s no clear theme or motive driving their leader's decisions, which tanks productivity and leads to unrest. CEOs often see their companies change rapidly and seldom intend to be so inconsistent, but it’s a culture killer nonetheless. They have to be able to communicate clearly with their team in order for everyone to stay on the same page. When core assumptions change, it's up to the CEO to make their team aware of it.

Matt Stanton, co-founder of SolePower, tells me: "It’s so difficult to see an otherwise good CEO make inconsistent decisions. At best, it hurts culture, and at worst, it needlessly keeps their team frightened and on edge. Just like almost any other problem, it can be fixed through clearer communication. It’s such a shame to see it happen because it can be avoided so easily.