Forbes states that most people don’t leave a bad company; they leave a bad boss. With that in mind though, how many times have you heard a person speaking badly about the company and not so much about the bad boss? They may tell you that the bad boss was the reason for them leaving, but ultimately the blame falls on the company and their failure to correct the leader. I’ve identified some reasons as to why companies do not self-correct, and I will start with the first reason in this post.
I ran upon this article in the Huffington Post, where an executive was let go because of sexual harassment. The shareholders sued the company because they found the multi-million dollar severance package given to the executive as unfair. The ridiculous part, though, is that sexual harassment was even an issue within this large corporation.
There are lawsuits after lawsuits. Turnover after turnover, and yet when you look back over what led to the employee’s final demise, it was because the leader refused to change their ways. It’s rarely because the leader or the leader’s manager was clueless about the infractions. Feeling ignored and unhappy, they come to work for the sheer fact of the paycheck while planning their exit strategy.
I also found that the same rings true for business owners and employees. Say what? Yep, some business owners and some employees refuse to change the negative behaviors that are affecting them. I train this course entitled Dealing With Difficult People and Dealing With Difficult Employees. Often, I have leaders who are taking the class because they have these horrendous employees, their words, not mine, that are so negative, non-productive, messy, rude, arrogant, nasty attitude, gossiper, lazy. Trust me, these are all adjectives given to me when I ask them to describe their “difficult” employee or “difficult” customer. It’s amazing how leaders or business owners can find 5,000 things wrong with someone else, but when I ask them to tell me about their negative behaviors, they struggle to think of one.
The first reason a company, leader, or employee does not change their negative behaviors is that they don’t fear the consequences for failing to change. I have heard so many times, “that’s just the way I am”. I usually reply that the way they are isn’t working well for them or the organization. I know for leaders, we are all perfect. We are perfect because our mom’s told us so as a child. So sweet of her. She told us that we were the best thing since sliced bread, and her little angel could do no wrong. So we grew up and went into the workforce. Some decided to be leaders, understanding that they speak on behalf of the organization. Some chose to be business owners, understanding that customers are their greatest asset. Some decided to be a personal contributor to the organization without the responsibility of managing people. Some fail to realize that their negative actions can cost them way more than correcting the behavior.
The consequences are too great. A leader who mistreats an employee could subject the company to a lawsuit. Where it could have cost a company a couple of thousand dollars to train their leadership team, they could be held liable to hundreds of thousands if not millions. Yes, I said it, millions.
Companies have to deal with reputational risk. Have any of you read Glassdoor and see what former employees are saying about a company? Some of those reviews would certainly deter a high caliber employee from applying. It affects the morale and culture of the organization. Instead of being known as the best place to work, the organization could be called the worse. Who in the world wants that title?
For the business owner, think about the reputational risk you may face because you failed to self-correct negative behavior. Because of social media, before a person leaves your establishment or get off of the phone, they have already documented the occurrence. Unfortunately, A negative experience spreads must quicker than a positive one. Magic Johnson says, “protect your brand at all cost”.
For the employee, your negative behaviors could be stopping you from being promoted. Is it worth it? Is it worth the loss of an extra $10K just because you want to stick with “that’s just the way that I am”?
I employ any organization and individual to think about the consequences of not changing. As we say at TJ Everhart Consulting, Inc., training is cheaper than a lawsuit or possible harm to your brand’s reputation.
Stay tuned for more identified reasons why companies don’t change.