Choosing Words Wisely Can Have an Impact on Company Culture

Company culture can be impacted by the words leaders choose to use.Tension in the workplace can sometimes be productive, but only if handled correctly. In the best-case scenario, everyone is polite and respectful of everyone around them. Unfortunately, it’s rare that everyone will play by those rules. If your company culture includes a high dose of passive aggressive behavior, you could have a productivity problem on your hands.

Rude Words/Phrases

What you say and what you actually mean can be two different things. There are a number of word choices that can be taken in a negative way by employees and can have an impact on your overall company culture. Here are a few words or phrases that you may not realize are negatively affecting your employees:

  • Whatever
    If you find yourself in a deep discussion where there are differing opinions, don’t concede defeat by saying “whatever.” This can be frustrating for employees and give them the feeling you don’t care.
  • Just kidding
    If you’ve made a “joke” and you say, “just kidding,” you’ve probably offended someone. Sarcasm is fine when everyone’s on board, but if you have to explain that you’re joking, consider keeping the “joke” to yourself next time.
  • Fine
    If you want to avoid coming off as passive aggressive, there are better ways to end the conversation. Saying “fine” usually means you’re complying, but you want the other person to know that you’re not happy. Think it through and continue the discussion until you can settle the differences without a terse conclusion.
  • If you insist
    When decisions are made, it’s always best if everyone is on board. By saying “if you insist,” you’re saying you don’t really agree with the direction a person wants to take, but you’ll do it anyway and probably say, “I told you so” when things don’t work out. Don’t be that person.

Passive aggressive behavior can have a very negative impact on the workplace, so by being more careful about word choice and focusing on communicating effectively and working through differences, you can avoid being part of the toxic situation.

Positive Communication

Focusing on communication should be deeply rooted in your company culture. Organizations that hire highly effective communicators can build a strong culture. Cultural tension is a big source of workplace retention issues. When co-workers cease to get along, it can cause a ripple effect throughout the organization that can kill productivity. Employees will even begin to seek “greener pastures” where the company culture is more positive.

To ensure that you’re bringing the right people on board, you can utilize the Predictive Index method of hiring. Not everyone is going to be a match for your organization, even though they might appear to be an excellent candidate in their resume and in their interview. Through a behavioral assessment, you’ll find the right match for your unique company culture. At PI Consulting Group, we can help you hire smarter, so contact us today.