5 Common “Culture Monsters” That Lurk in the Workplace You Should Avoid At All Costs


You spend a huge chunk of your time at work. And while having an interesting job that pays well and offers benefits is awesome, those aren’t the only requirements of a great work-life these days. The other part of it all is being motivated and feeling like you’re able to positively contribute to your company’s success. And on top of all of that, it’s important to be able to enjoy the people you’re with and the environment you’re in.

Even if you had all of these things (lucky you!) no workplace is totally perfect and completely without conflict. 

And in fact, some conflict isn’t a bad thing; some healthy disagreements at work help you grow and some arguments even end up bringing about creative and innovative ideas. But negative energy and workplace conflict in and of themselves can have awful and expensive consequences. Depending on the situation, these things in the workplace that we call “culture monsters” can really decrease harmony and wreak havoc on efficiency in a variety of ways.

If you’re trying to live your best work-life at your current job, or if you’re currently dusting off your resume to find a new job that’ll make you happier, keep these little “monsters” in mind; these are 5 common culture “monsters” that lurk in the workplace, which you should avoid at all costs:

Backstabbing: “It’s her fault!”

Everyone works as a team and has each other’s backs. That’s what we all want in a job. Yes, competition is natural and a degree of it is healthy, but when co-workers want to get ahead and will throw you under the bus to do it, that’s something to worry about.

If you find yourself in a workplace where it’s every man for himself, it will be difficult to get much accomplished because you will be worried about what is being said behind your back.


Negativity: “That will never work!”

Not every idea is going to be a winner, but a culture that constantly poo-poo’s every brainstorm has a problem. How will they continue to be relevant for the future?

Even one negative person affects the entire team’s morale, bringing down enthusiasm and energy.

It’s important to watch for this before you get hired, if you can help it. Is there evidence of negativity in the job interview? Do they mention team-building and other positive ways to create harmony? If not, think twice before accepting a position.


Indifference: “It doesn’t really matter to me.”

Employees who don’t feel appreciated are beat down and worn out over time until they just don’t care. This is probably a worse blow to a company’s culture than a negative employee. At least co-workers can ignore negativity. Indifference, however, seeps into other people until there are entire teams that are just going through the motions. This is a frustrating scenario for employees craving to perform well.


Resistant to change: “But we have always done it this way!”

Change is a great thing in the workplace. Otherwise we would all still be talking on rotary phones, banging away on typewriters.

This is one culture monster that job candidates can sniff out in the interview by asking targeted questions. “What new plans will I be involved in over the next year?” “How are you planning to stay ahead of competition?” If the answers are vague, or the interviewer doesn’t have one, alarm bells should ring.


Lack of communication: “They never tell me anything!”

Robust, two-way communication is ideal for a company culture to thrive and for each team to understand their part in reaching company goals. Unfortunately sometimes managers hoard information and only give it to their team on a perceived need-to-know basis. This does NOT encourage feelings of loyalty or inclusion and can be irritating and de-motivating for employees.

Company culture is going to be one of the most important things about a job that determines whether or not a person is satisfied and happy. The good news is that, by researching the company online and asking specific questions during the interview, applicants can get a decent picture of the culture and whether or not any of these “monsters” are roaming their halls.


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