Company Scapegoats and Culture Killers: Part 2

By: Chad Allen

What is a company scapegoat? When things are going wrong it’s common to blame the culture killers for lack of productivity, stalled progress, and inefficiencies. If you did not read Part 1, click here. Does this sound familiar?

Communication gone south and dropped balls are common in business, but how you navigate those and hold people accountable is critical. The company scapegoat is usually someone who is guilty of missing the details, losing progress on goals, and not having a great follow-up. When things go wrong, it’s common to place blame. This person can also be extremely high functioning and a great asset in some areas, but maybe he or she clashed with others high up in the organization. Any inkling of failure gets defaulted to this person.

This is a horrible practice and is far too common in a business with an unhealthy culture. This tends to be an issue from the higher ranks and it spills to management and becomes a breeding ground for widespread organizational disfunction.

Some things you might notice against management doing against this person include:

  • Making a case against someone
  • Creating an atmosphere of seriousness and urgency around this person
  • Keeping secrets
  • Creating overly rigid rules to monitor this person
  • Gossip
  • Triangulation
  • Blocking the scapegoat from developing close relationships
  • Overreaction
  • Filter out any good and only focus on negative behavior

In a toxic culture, people will feel forced to go along with this type of mistreatment. And that’s exactly what it is - complete and utter failure on the part of those in charge. Scapegoats are unethical. unnecessary, and cause a lot of damage to the targeted person and those who watch in silence.

If someone is killing your culture, the better way to mitigate issues would be:

  1. Create a culture of accountability where everyone is on the same playing field with objectives, measurables, and how they account for time and productivity. If goals aren’t met, it’s black and white and everyone is treated fairly.
  2. Be open and honest with people about company initiatives and pain points in the organization. Invite people to be part of the solution.
  3. Take accountability at this highest level. If you’re in charge, act like it.

To avoid cultural issues from arising and spreading, it is best to cultivate a positive environment. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but it does have to provide satisfaction to all members of the company. When members of a company have less stress and are overall happy where they work, then employee loyalty increases dramatically on every level. Don’t expect your efforts to better company culture to work overnight, but soon you will see a dramatic shift in communication, morale, and attitude within your company. Some ways that you could better the work environment include:

  • Bettering employee perks, bonus’, raises, etc.
  • Make employee wellness a priority, both physical and mental.
  • Create goals and celebrate the accomplishment as a team, not as individuals.
  • Foster social connections through work parties, lunches, etc.
  • Listen to your employees and co-workers. Most of the time miscommunication is the root of toxic relationships.
  • Address mistakes respectfully.

Company scapegoats and culture killers will be out there, but it is the job of the business owner to identify and correct these happenings. What tips do you have on creating a better company culture? Tweet us @Pulsegroupb2b with your answer!