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As the Halloween effect permeates the airwaves with spooky songs and ghastly tales we thought we’d add our own musings to the mix and raise the spectre of ghosts and poltergeists in the office. No, not the spirits on the ethereal plane; but the people who haunt offices up and down the land with their own brand of mysterious mayhem.
You may not even know the ghosts in your business, but they are there, drifting unseen through the day. Meticulous clock watchers they do what is asked and no more. You can’t fault their work, although you may have concerns about the work rate; yet their presence raises an uneasy disquiet as they whisper dissent and infect colleagues with dissatisfaction.
Or then there are the poltergeists. Noisier than ghosts they are full of their own worth, blustering their way through the day and making sure that they are noticed. They are the volunteers, the organisers, the ones who speak up at meetings. But somehow things never quite work out as expected. There are wastages and cost overruns, there are dissatisfied customers and bullied staff, there are meetings which never reach a conclusion or distort as they are hijacked to the poltergeists agenda.
How do they get away with it, these ghosts and poltergeists? Quite simply, because the company culture lets them. Strong leadership, espoused values, a desire to create engaged employees all count for nothing if the culture is weak. So whilst the company leaders mouth the right words, the ghosts get on with minimal workloads and sowing dissent and the poltergeists happily run amok, bullying the weak and blaming everyone else for their failures.
Ghosts and poltergeists are not just for Halloween but they do need to be tackled before it is too late. Strengthen your culture now or next year there may just be a dead remnant of an organisation standing empty under a Halloween moon.