By ROBERTO ABEDRABBO
During our professional lives, we will encounter many different work environments that will be ruled by management with diverse points of view. Some will be structured, while others will be laid back. Truth is, during your entire professional career, you will very likely encounter work settings that simply aren’t appealing, and in most cases, you will encounter this more than once. This brings us to the most important aspect within your professional setting: culture.
Culture is often disregarded as an important aspect of a work environment, since most present companies have taken a dictatorial approach, leading to the establishment of a company’s culture, based on a small percentage of the firm’s members. In other words, culture is often an unspoken, under-supervised aspect of a company, since owners will often put more focus on other aspects, leading to a strictly professional establishment. Hence, we can often find ourselves noticing a drastic change between the instant we walk into our workplace and when we leave. This, of course, is not optimal in terms of overall quality of work, when it should be an important consideration for managers. After all, we often spend half of our weekdays (average) at work.
Board members of companies have recently placed more attention on organizational behavior, attempting to develop a system that allows employees to have more engagement within their workplace, leading to increased employee satisfaction. More often than not, we find that entrepreneurs and aspiring top-notch professionals will follow their role-model’s mentalities in order to develop similar results of their own. However, this can often lead to unfavorable results. For example, it is known that Steve Jobs used a transactional approach with his employees, which lead them to develop better results, based on fear and shame (Don’t believe it? Google: Steve Jobs Employee Treatment). Even though this approach might bring better results, it can drastically demotivate employees, often leading to decreased quality of work and life.
On the other hand, we can also find that work environments that are too laid back can often result in employees’ lack of work ethic and results, which can severely detriment the company. A good example of this would be an under-supervised restaurant, where we have to wait more than an hour for our food and drinks and the quality of overall service is unacceptable.
In order to properly develop a positive work environment, managers/supervisors must implement a work code that clearly states the cultural aspect of the company, leading to a defined code for employees to follow. At the same time, employees should have the ability to develop their own leadership and triumphs, which will lead to a reward system based on meritocracy, rather than seniority.
The key element in work culture is to understand that every human is different, which leads us to act differently from others. You might work better under pressure, while your colleagues might prefer a more charisma-oriented approach. Nonetheless, we should follow the Platinum Rule, which is often disregarded: Treat others the way THEY want to be treated, not how YOU want to be treated.
Roberto Abedrabbo can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org