by Sabrina Son
You’ve worked hard to build a strong company. But add a few certain evil ingredients into the mix, and it’s amazing how quickly all of that hard work can be for naught.
The stronger your organizational culture, the stronger your company. Here are 10 of the most common mistakes you're probably making — and what you can do to avoid a similar fate:
1. Ignoring employee feedback
It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to solicit ideas, feedback, and suggestions from your staff only to ignore everything you’re told. Great managers understand their team is brilliant. They use the feedback they receive to improve operations — and quickly.
2. Hiring people who don’t embody your organizational values
If your organization fosters an environment where friendliness and transparency are valued, don’t hire a big bully who doubles as a liar. All it takes is one jerk to make work miserable for everyone.
3. Creating unfriendly competition
Competition can be great, but not when it pins folks against one another in a way that’ll bring out the worst in everyone. If you’re going to have any contests, make sure they’re conceived in a productive and friendly way.
4. Passing the buck — always
Nobody likes working for a boss who is quick to take credit for success and refuses to accept any responsibility for failure. Great bosses do the opposite.
5. Working in a terrible office
Let’s hope you’ve never worked in a cubicle that was positioned in such a way that you couldn’t see any windows from your desk. The physical space we work in matters. Cultivate a vibrant office that excites.
6. Assembling a bloated bureaucracy
Ever work in a company where you had an innumerable amount of bosses? You know, the kind of people you swear don’t do anything at all but rake in six-figure checks regardless? There’s nothing worse than having to tell eight bosses the same thing. Great companies have relatively flat structures.
7. Micromanaging everyone
Remember, there’s a reason all of these people are showing up to your office every day: You’ve hired them to a do a job. In theory, this means you vetted them all, and you really liked what you saw. Your team is perfectly capable of getting the job done on its own. You don’t need to micromanage them. Just offer guidance from time to time as needed.
8. Eliminating perks and worsening benefits
When the economy dips, it makes sense that some companies might have to be much more conservative with their spending. But when things are moving along just fine, you’re better off leaving perks and benefits as they are — unless you want to improve them. When Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer announced she was ending her company’s flexible working policy in 2013, some pundits said it was the move of a visionary leader. Yahoo investors and employees, it seems, didn’t agree.
9. Lying to your staff
Nobody likes liars. Great companies are built on transparency and honesty. has found that transparency is the number one factor that leads to employee happiness. Communicate with your staff often, and never tell them anything but the truth. From time to time, of course, you can err on the side of reticence. But never deceive.
10. Criticizing employees publicly
Did Jimbo do that same dumb thing you’ve told him not to do time and again? Blast! Thing is, don’t yell at the poor lad in front of everyone. When you have something to say to an employee, say it to their face in the comfort of your office. Better yet, do it over the course of a one-on-one walking meeting.
Businesses succeed because they have cultures that attract the brightest and best minds — and encourage them to stick around for the long haul. If you’re looking to grow your company in 2016 and beyond, start by figuring out how you can improve your culture. The rest will follow.
This article by Sabrina Son originally appeared in