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  • Bill Cordes

7 Characteristics of a Negative Culture

Updated: Mar 2


Experiencing different school, business, and organizational cultures is fascinating! When I speak at a new school or business, I love asking questions! I wonder why people do what they do, why certain traditions are maintained, and why they love their culture. It is equally engaging to hear about the elements of their culture that people would like to change.

Culture is:

  • Our collective agreement about "how" we treat one another. Regardless of age, gender, race, political affiliations, or group identity.

Maya Angelou probably defines culture the best when she said: "Most people will forget what you said, they will forget what you did, but they will never forget the way you made them feel."

How would you define the culture of your organization? Are you being intentional about creating a positive culture? Let's look at what happens when we are not purposeful in building a compelling culture.

7 Characteristics of a Negative Culture

1. Low community engagement

2. Lack of empathy for one another

  • See people as groups, cliques, or categories rather than individual

  • We tend to objectify others instead of seeking to understand

3. Poor leadership: Focus becomes: what's in it for me

4. No discipline: We don't do things a certain way - we just do

5. Poor internal communication

  • about administration

  • about teachers

  • staff

  • each other

6. Bad habits occur out of perceived scarce rewards

7. Rumor mill is off the charts


If any of the above characteristics apply to your organization than it is time to be intentional about instituting some change! I will be discussing some great strategies for building culture in my next session.

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