Breaking Down Misperception

Maintaining a positive workplace atmosphere is vital to success. It promotes efficiency, reduces employee turnover, and just makes things better. However, assessing the health of corporate culture is so difficult because there is often a massive disconnect between managers’ perception and employees’ point of view.

The Corporate Culture Chasm survey questioned 1,200 participants and concluded managers have a much more positive view of the workplace than their employees. This is incredibly insightful, because although there’s so much literature detailing the significance of a happy workplace, those who need it most don’t know they need it—and if they don’t know they need it, they will never attain it. So much for ‘ignorance is bliss,’ huh?

This all said, fear not. Employers can bridge the gap, and better understand the perspective of employees (even if employees are not always so inclined to voice their honest opinion). Here’s what has worked for me to get everyone on the same page:

Balancing Innovation with the Status Quo

Although most managers will claim they value their workers’ insight, the fact is they don’t. When asked which norms reflect company culture, 54% of employees stated they would choose to avoid conflict in order to maintain a positive relationship.

The same group also expressed that agreeing with others and gaining their approval are significant for being liked. Just as well, they were also 53% more likely than their leaders to say conformity was important in company culture.

This boils down to a simple fact. Employees felt that going to work meant following rules. This is troublesome for a number of reasons, the most important being that adhering to norms does not foster innovation. In today’s competitive marketplace, innovation is more important than ever.

Overcome this by cultivating conversation. Encourage and listen (not hear) to what employees at all levels have to say. Once workers see you are valuing their input, they will be more forthcoming, more open, and ultimately, more beneficial in general. Set an example and the rest will follow suit.

Understand Teamwork and Competition

In the survey, and in most offices, there was (is) a severe disparity between how both employees and managers perceive competition and teamwork. Where most managers see teamwork as an integral aspect of company culture, workers see competition.

This misperception has the capacity to wreak havoc on a workplace’s atmosphere because it means employees will actually be less likely to help each other.

In order to prevent this plague of a misperception, leaders should focus on improving both individual and team performance. If incentives are awarded for team performance instead of just on an individual basis, then workers will see the value of working together and not against each other.

The main takeaway from all this is leaders need to put themselves in their employees’ shoes. They need to establish an open dialogue free from punishing judgments. Only then will both employees and managers play for the same team and work together toward the same goal—profit.


Kodak’s Downfall Wasn’t About Technology

Although many speculate Kodak’s decline was due to technology, this insightful article provides compelling evidence to the contrary. Citing myopia and Kodak’s inability to adapt to a changing marketplace, it delves into what the former giant could have done differently. For a better look into the whirlwind decline of Kodak and how digital disruption ended […]

via Vincent Chhabra | Entrepreneur

Lifting the Second-Generation Curse

This resilient tale articulates Natalie Sexton’s journey to lift the ‘second-generation curse.’ In today’s competitive marketplace, a measly 30% of family-owned businesses survive through the second-generation. Yet, Sexton seeks to defy the odds, and in doing so inspires us all. For more information on her incredible journey, please check out this New York Times article

via Vincent Chhabra | Entrepreneur

The Significance of Networking

Although networking can be uncomfortable and awkward for quite a few people, it is a necessary part of business that has the potential to pay off enormously. Time and again we hear, “It’s not what you know. It’s who you know.”  While this sort of playing field may seem unfair in regards to capitalism, it […]

via Vincent Chhabra | Entrepreneur

Entrepreneurship is Not a Dream. It’s a Reality

As we go through life, we are continuously forced to build ourselves more and more until we are the person we strive to be. While not all of us necessarily transcend or reach the dreams of our adolescence, we still inevitably experience a journey in which we are forced to push our limits, to expand […]

via Vincent Chhabra | Entrepreneur

The Internal Struggle of Growth

All too often we see businesses grow and grow only to reach an apex and coast. Then, while these corporate, cumbersome, inflexible conglomerations coast, an independent, agile, and flexible start-up will come along and adapt to the market more efficiently, thus effectively displacing the conglomeration. Truthfully, corporations should never seek to reach an apex and […]

via Vincent Chhabra | Entrepreneur

The Key to Professional Performance? Happiness.

In today’s competitive job marketplace, it can be not just difficult, but nearly impossible to finally stumble upon a job we enjoy. Finding passion in the workplace is a feat in and of itself, but occasionally that passion can subside from a roaring fire to charred remains. How do we maintain our love for what we do? How do we retain intrigue and ambition in the office?

In fact, although paradoxical, it can seem commonplace that the more we enjoy a job at first, the less likely we are to enjoy that same job later on. When initially taking on a new and exciting position, we are motivated to work hard so that we may distinguish ourselves from our peers. Yet, this overwork can lead to a sort of workplace exhaustion. Recent statistics suggest the same:

-48% of employed Americans reported increased levels of stress in the last five years.
-31% of employed Americans report difficulty managing work and family responsibilities
-55% of employed Americans claim work makes them “overtired and overwhelmed.”

According to Arianna Huffington, “there is no trade-off between living a well-rounded life and high performance, performance is actually improved when our lives include time for renewal, wisdom, wonder, and giving.” Though there may seem times we should be working over resting, the fact is that resting would actually make us more efficient. We must be sure to rest when we need rest, or not only the quality of our work will suffer, but our very happiness will be diminished.

It is of the utmost significance to diminish stress in our lives, to erase worries and to embrace what makes us happy. Stress’ negative effects merely compound until they develop into an insurmountable perception of difficulty, thus forcing us to leave our job unless we are to fall into an oblivion of depression. The effects of stress are well-known and do not just affect us mentally, but physically as well.

Many times we will find ourselves enduring back pain or heart disease, obesity or even just the common cold, and we will fail to acknowledge the possible role of stress. While it may not seem immediately apparent, stress often facilitates the development of these negative situations. It reduces your immune system and increases your vulnerability. Just as well, this vulnerability is not limited to professional interaction. Indeed, it can and does generally negatively impact social relationships as well.

By reducing the stress associated with work, we are reducing our chance of burnout. We are increasing our chance for prolonged professional satisfaction and happiness. If we acknowledge and properly manage the inevitable stress that undoubtedly plagues us all, we are orienting ourselves for long-term success. While it may seem natural to work as hard as possible at a job we first start, we must remember that happiness, above all else, is what will drive professional performance.