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Improving Company Culture: Jumping Over the Wall

September 11, 2018 Julia Motis

wallAs much as people want to think that everyone in their company is always “happy go lucky” and that the company culture is flawless, we all know that this isn’t always true. Sometimes things get a little crazy, stress and emotions run high and people hit a wall, and they may struggle to feel motivated or appreciated.

Whether the problem is with an individual or the whole team, there’s no perfect solution to getting over that wall. However, there are steps a company can take to settle things down and bring spirits back up.

Have honest conversations

The best place to start when an employee or a team has hit their max point is to start an open discussion. Pull the person into an office for a one-on-one chat, or gather everyone in a room together and talk about what everyone’s feeling to try to get to the root of the problem. It’s often tough to be vulnerable with the people who you see as colleagues first and foremost, and maybe even more so with supervisors, but if you can get past that barrier, it’s very helpful to know how each other is doing emotionally.

A strong company culture isn’t just one where everyone is enthusiastic and enjoys working with each other, it’s also one where people feel like they can open up and be honest with one another. No one is a mind reader, so if an issue is becoming a serious roadblock, you need to voice it. Do you have too much on your plate, and you’re about to explode? Do you feel like you don’t have room to grow and advance in your career? A good company culture should allow you to voice your concerns or issues to your supervisor or other company leader, who can assist you in getting out of that hole.

Brainstorm solutions

The conversations shouldn’t end with voicing your troubles and finding where they stem from. They should also include pinpointing those rotten roots and thinking through how to get rid of them. Some solutions may just be temporary patches to alleviate some of the stress until the deeper issue can be addressed, such as taking things off someone’s plate if they are too overwhelmed with work until the workload can be redistributed in a more even way. But if the problem is easy enough to find a longer-term solution for, go ahead and fix it, or at least start the process toward getting it fixed. Often the solution is simpler than you think, and once another brain joins in on the job, you may have an easier time working through it.

A strong company culture isn’t just one where everyone is enthusiastic and enjoys working with each other, it’s also one where people feel like they can open up and be honest with one another.

Get out of the office

Even if there’s no underlying reason for feeling the exhaustion and the stress, do yourself a favor and take a mental health day. Quit out of your email server, turn off your phone alerts and do something for you, whatever that may be. That small amount of “time off” may allow you to view things with fresh eyes and figure out the best way to proceed.

But when the whole team is in a slump (or pulling their hair out), do something fun as a group to pull everyone out of it. Go bowling, have a happy hour at a nearby restaurant or even just take a group walk around the park. Do something to acknowledge that you’ve all been working hard and that you need a break to talk about anything but work over some drinks. It can do a team wonders to have that time to shake off the stress and just enjoy each others’ company.

The worst thing you can do as an individual or as a company is wait until “stuff” completely hits the fan. Employees, talk to your supervisor or manager if you’re feeling overwhelmed, and leaders, take the temperature of your team frequently to make sure things aren’t going up in flames. Don’t let those walls build up around you because someone is bound to hit them, and then you run the risk of them getting too tall to get over at all. So grab some rope, find the best way up and get the heck over those walls to make your company culture a constructive one again.

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