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Top Workplace Issues and Solutions

Updated on September 30, 2012
Let's work as a team!   Organizations need to listen better.
Let's work as a team! Organizations need to listen better.


Dysfunction is not only commonplace among families and other pertinent relationships, but it runs rampant in the best of our organizations, companies, associations and most visibly in many of our governmental agencies. Regrettably, it spreads like the plague, infecting the work place with a lack of productivity, poor performance, mediocrity, entitlements and bad politics. 


Politics is every where. From the school yard to the board room. It lives with us and dies with us, but when it completely takes over and breeds then it becomes vicious habits that creep in take hold and many times never let go.

Yes, we are all responsible for our actions. Our own productivity is based on our own model of work ethic, but with all that, the overall dysfunction lies in the powers that be.

What does this mean for us working in these machines of dysfunctional leadership? What can organizations and their leaders change, once and for all, to alleviate and one day eliminate the dysfunction?

Let us discuss.

The Role of Leadership

Lessons Learned?

2008. The worst year for our markets. It affected the world. It was a deluge of greed that caused the worst financial crisis since the depression. Yet, here we are with the same problems--lack of leadership. It is a fact that good, positive, charismatic leadership leads to high performing employees; which results in high performing companies. However, endless research, scholars and consultants will preach that great leadership is essential, but efficient and competitive teams are still elusive to most companies. Why? Isn't leadership the most important asset a company can invest in to increase employee and resource efficiency?

Where is the leadership when you need it?

The outcome of bad leadership:

  1. Poor performance
  2. Business knowledge lacks
  3. Bad or confusing financial decisions
  4. Negative internal politics and disconnect
  5. Failed business

Where do we go from here?

"What's gonna work--TEAM WORK!"
"What's gonna work--TEAM WORK!"

Organizational Communication

Communication, what a concept, right?

It is mind boggling how the same employees, in the same company, working on the same goals, can be so vicious, divisive and poor team players throughout the hierarchy. Getting people in the same company to function in the same direction, communicating across team lines and rowing all in the same direction almost seems impossible at times. Therefore, resulting in inefficient completion of tasks or none at all.

Imagine a work force with better leadership and better authority to make decisions cohesively and truly working together instead of against each other. Imagine that!

Teams need to be strategically aligned and working in the same direction at all times; if not, waste happens and energy lacks.

Now, what?

Bad Politics

"How am I growing here?"
"How am I growing here?"


What work place issues and, or, problems do you believe are most harmful?

See results

As stated earlier, politics reigns every where. Unfortunately, it can and has gotten out of control in our work places. Bad politics is truly bad for business. Work places can be too political and at times can control major policy making decisions that affects all levels.

Politics in reality, and by definition, is "the art or science of running governmental or state affairs." However, it also pertains to behavior and social relations. And in my opinion, that is where the underlying problem is. Too often these behaviors dictate how the company will operate.

As bad politics spreads the company tends to develop a reputation for being overly political and even unpleasant to work in, and results in the following:

  • Makes it more difficult to hire good talent in order to compete effectively.
  • Makes it more difficult to fire bad seeds in order to compete effectively.
  • Generally, good honest workers lack the skill, character and power to function in highly political work environments.
  • Employees tend to lose faith, morale and motivation.
  • Complete lose of employee confidence in its leadership.
  • Business performance suffers both short and long term. No one wins.

With all this said, realistically, it is almost impossible to have a completely politic-free environment. This is due in part to the fact that the allure and natural part of human nature is the need for power in both business and the world in general. The ability for those in power to continue steering the company forward is not inherently a good or bad thing, but successful leaders must learn to manage, and most importantly, leverage the politics by setting their sites on performance based goals versus resource based goals and rewards.

Easier said than done?

Working to solve it!

Is there a cure?

What are the best ways to "try" to cure or in many cases "combat" these issues? Well, it all boils down to the basic---leadership.

In my experiences, both past and present, the following observations, and, or recommendations are what I believe is a reasonable start to finding a cure:

  1. Recognition by top management that a problem (s) exists and the impact on the business.
  2. Commit, act, and implement palpable change to the processes causing the negative issues.
  3. Bring in third-party, non-biased advisors to assist in the change.
  4. Allow open employee feedback and participation through surveys and group discussions to evaluate and identify road blocks by the management teams. (My favorite!)
  5. Fair and just mediation in times of need.
  6. If existing management does not demonstrate a real change of policy and culture then new leadership is imperative.
  7. New leadership should be able to make decisions on hiring, firing and other policy making actions.
  8. Have appropriate legal backing to counteract against those that continue negative and improper behavior.
  9. Zero tolerance for bad business practices. Sociologically, people will practice what they see as appropriate social behavior. If a company allows bad political behaviors, others will follow.
  10. Build a culture of collaboration, not division, as a management strategy. Cohesiveness at all levels is essential!

Sounds promising?

Conclusion: Keep an open mind!

How does an organization think outside the box when they are the box?  Sound business practices come from sound open minds.
How does an organization think outside the box when they are the box? Sound business practices come from sound open minds.

Yes, we can!

Building a work environment based on collaboration, agreed upon strategies, cohesiveness, sound communication, business knowledge, consensus and education results, not only, in a high performing, highly motivated business, but also evolves into highly motivated and competent teams of individuals that will lead their organizations positively.

Work place dysfunction does not have to exist. It does not have to fester if the problems or issues are truly worked on and performance systems are in play to motivate, control and lead. There should be both merit and seniority incentives and penalties. Clear and concise business objectives should be transparent, accountable and easily communicated. Company-wide team building, workshops, training, communication, negotiation and conflict resolution should be real and free flowing; not rigid, biased or extremely political. And last, but not least, results should be based on positive input for maximum output.

The work place should breed productivity, efficiency, collaboration, profit and other positive company goals. Employees and management MUST work as a unit. Keeping an open mind that times, technology, and generational changes occur will allow dysfunctional companies to turn themselves around into highly performing functional entities admired for their ability to fix their issues once and for all.

Leaders emerge front and center and we all grow.

There is hope.


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    • profile image

      STAIRWAY 3 years ago

      Great! I've learned a lot. Thanks

    • profile image

      writerly yours 6 years ago

      thank you for your reply. YOu are so right about that. Sometimes it is best to just walk away. It has taught me what type of leader NOT to be!

      I thank you again for reading! :)

    • LucasKl profile image

      LucasKl 6 years ago from Hamburg, Germany

      Writerly, thanks for your thorough reply. You're right, frustrating is an understatement ;-)

      It's not fair, and I think sometimes the best we can do is just walk away.

      When we can do something about it, of course we should. But there are times when we are not in a position to do anything about it. Then it is time to quit the company.

      However, when we are the leader, we have the opportunity to do better. To be fairer. And we can educate other leaders, too. Like you are doing with this article. Thanks again :-)

    • Writerly Yours profile image

      Writerly Yours 6 years ago

      Lucas, thank you for your great comment and for following me! I have been drafting hubs for weeks now and trying to get them published and saw your comments!

      Frustrating is not the word, Lucas! You have no idea how it angers me and I am always trying to get away from the negativity it creates. Let's just say they had a leadership conference at a place I know well (heheheh) and someone anonymously asked the President why he has not done anything about favoritism, nepotism and unfair hiring rules and procedures and he actually said, and I quote, "well, if the candidate is competent and qualified I don't see a problem!" The person then said, "but how can you be so sure they really are? How can you post a vacancy after you have a candidate already and others just submit their resumes and never get a fighting chance to show their skill set? When does it end? how does one progress as an employee if all that matters is that your last name is the same as those in power?"

      And that's just one of the most frustrating and angering situations that make workplaces dysfunctional and toxic. That is why I am always trying to find a positive solution to cope, deal and go for real change not just politics all the time. I know it exists. I know it will always, but it's not fair all the time every time and that's the issue.

      thank you, I appreciate wholeheartedly that you understand where I am coming from. I don't like just to just rant about things--although I am human and I do vent (don't we all at times, right?) a lot , but the more I can write and find solutions about it the better I feel knowing I'm not adding to the problem, but trying to at least find a way to make it better not only for me, but for others!

      AND YES, WE CAN! THANKS!!!!!

    • LucasKl profile image

      LucasKl 6 years ago from Hamburg, Germany

      Writerly, thanks for this great article. Politics at work are one of the most frustrating things I've had to experience. The worst part is when it stops about getting good work done and starts to be only about power and ego.

      Your tips for finding a solution are excellent and the "Yes, we can!" part i s encouraging :)



    • Writerly Yours profile image

      Writerly Yours 6 years ago

      Thank you Treasures!

      I am so glad you read this. In all of my work experiences, thus far, I have observed the same leadership traits and I find it mind boggling at times how certain decisions are made or policies created or amended. But, I try to stay as positive as possible and focus on how I can be a team player and team leader to work with it because many times resistance in highly political work places is futile.

      Your insight, expertise and feedback are always appreciated.

      Thanks for reading!

    • Treasuresofheaven profile image

      Sima Ballinger 6 years ago from Michigan

      You said a mouth full Writerly. There is a lot to think about here. I thought about something else that I think is very important in the workplace - Diversity.

      Leadership is certainly extremely important in the workplace.

      A leader that is fair is hard to find - takes a lot of maturity to be in Leadership.

      This is a sophisticated piece of work. You got me thinking!