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No matter what industry you are in, those who reach the highest levels of success and climb the ladder to senior management will have met people who dominate, manipulate or cheat their way through their career – and there will be those who admire and aspire to achieve more when they meet someone at the peak of their success, and those who are envious and think they somehow have the right to that success without putting in the groundwork, as if they have somehow been cheated out of their rightful place.

Every business person in every organisation has met one of those second kind – and the damage that kind of attitude has on the culture of a team can be enormous if they are in a leadership role.

Someone who begrudges the success of others can filter that attitude out like a cloud of pollution, and the negativity means that where people could be looking for growth opportunities and ways to reach a wider market, for potential new lines or services and ways to offer more to their target customers, they are instead looking over their shoulder to check that there’s no competition creeping up on them.

If your focus is on the competition and on your peers, checking that you’re on top, beating them and trying to trip them up on their way to the top, then you could be missing chances to succeed – and when those peers or competitors see those chances and grasp them, the bitterness and envy from that negativity and misguided focus taints what successes there have been in the team.

When that negative focus – concentrating on where other organisations or teams have beaten yours – becomes the norm it has a lasting and far-reaching psychological damage on the way people will approach their goals, looking for ways to sabotage the chances of others rather than opportunities to achieve more for the team. Mistrust, anxiety and stress will grow, and people will find themselves working longer hours and achieving fewer things as their ability to embrace success and efficiently complete tasks is impacted by the pressure.

If this is the tone that leaders in an organisation bring and project, it will infiltrate the rest of the leadership team and filter down through every level of the team until the whole culture is negative and mistrustful – and that is how businesses fail, even if they seem to be making money. The turnover of staff increases, the autonomy and inspiration slows, progress grinds to a halt and the whole business will stagnate – at which point those competitors so closely being watched with envy will naturally creep past you.

Changing this culture can be a huge project – and it can be very difficult to switch from one culture to another if you don’t have the commitment and dedication of every single member of the leadership team to face that challenge and build a new approach.

If you are concerned about the culture in your organisation or simply want to encourage further development and growth and a positive approach to business success, our programmes are designed specifically to challenge negativity and build trust and progressive thinking. If this sounds like what you need, just ASK.