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10 Ways We Create an Unhealthy Culture

unhealthy culture

No leader sets out to create an unhealthy culture, but I know some keys to creating one.

There are things which injure the health of any team. I am not sure we do them with ill intentions. Sometimes we simply are doing what we know to do or what has been modeled for us by other leaders.

But if we aren’t careful, we unwillingly create an unhealthy culture.

Perhaps understanding how it develops can help. Just as with a healthy team environment, creating an unhealthy culture doesn’t happen without intentionality. We almost have to work at it – even when we don’t realize we are doing so.

10 Ways to Create an Unhealthy Culture:

  1. Make people question their role or performance on the team. Make them wonder if what they do matters.
  2. Avoid all conflict.
  3. Pretend things are okay when they are not. Exaggerate the positives and avoid the negatives.
  4. Add rules which impact everyone, rather than dealing with the real issue.
  5. Never applaud people or celebrate wins. Only critique and find fault.
  6. Keep people wondering what the leader is thinking. Under-communicate.
  7. Allow passive aggression to govern decision-making.
  8. Hold mistakes against people rather than using them as a learning experience.
  9. Limit the control of decisions made to a few people. Don’t make people feel “included”.
  10. Have no clear purpose for the team.

Again, most leaders aren’t setting out to create an unhealthy culture. But these actions certainly welcome one. 


This article on creating (or avoiding) an unhealthy culture originally appeared here, and is used by permission. Check out Ron’s leadership podcast where we discuss issues of leadership in a practical way. Plus, check out the other Lifeway Leadership Podcasts.