Overcoming Workplace Dysfunction

Jul 14, 2023 | Listen

overcoming workplace dsyfunction

For many people, workplace dysfunction feels like navigating a never-ending battlefield.

Collaboration becomes a distant dream, communication breaks down at every turn, and productivity takes a massive hit.

These issues not only impact the morale and well-being of your team, but they can also have a significant effect on your business’s earnings.

Instead of focusing on driving the business forward, internal conflicts, power struggles, and a lack of trust dominate the scene.

But what causes workplace dysfunction?

Can you still turn things around? or is it already too late?

In today’s episode, Zach Montroy and I discuss workplace dysfunction and how it can undermine all your efforts for success. We’ll uncover strategies to restore collaboration, boost productivity, and improve the overall well-being of your team to keep your business growing.

Timestamps for this week’s episode

  • 10:49 Workplace dysfunction causes lost productivity and a culture of fear.

  • 15:43 Leaders should prioritize clear communication and build trust with their team to remove workplace dsyfunction

  • 20:25 Evaluate work success along the way, not just at the end, using “mile markers” and feedback.

  • 32:08 Remove workplace dysfunction by reassessing your culture, habits and core values

“Even though we know that the cost of replacing an employee is much higher than working on building a healthy team, somehow in our minds, we deprioritize it and wonder why our business isn’t growing.” – Zach Montroy

Workplace dysfunction causes lost productivity and a culture of fear

The key characteristics of workplace dysfunction include back channeling, politicking, and a culture of fear, hindering collaboration and open communication. Other consequences include:

  • Ripple effects: When workplace dysfunction permeates your business, it can cause a wide range of other detrimental behaviors.
  • Shame and blame: Toxic cultures perpetuate an environment where individuals are quick to point fingers and avoid taking responsibility.

Organizations should prioritize creating a healthy work environment based on transparency, trust, and accountability to overcome workplace dysfunction. You can start by:

  • Encouraging open communication: Make sure your team members feel comfortable expressing their ideas and concerns.
  • Promoting psychologically safe spaces: Cultivate an atmosphere where employees can take risks, voice opinions, and make mistakes without fear.
  • Embracing diversity: Create inclusive spaces, encourage collaboration and innovation, and the sharing of different perspectives.

Organizations can dismantle toxic behaviors, foster positive team dynamics, and create a productive and supportive work culture by addressing workplace dysfunction head-on.

As leaders, we have to be courageous about saying the hard things, the daring things, and confronting the hard facts.

Leaders should prioritize clear communication and build trust to remove workplace dsyfunction

To address toxic behavior and build trust, leaders can:

  • Apologize and take ownership of any trust issues.
  • Encourage regular feedback and create a safe space for open communication.
  • Emphasize clarity in roles, expectations, and decision-making.
  • Foster healthy conflict resolution focused on ideas, not personal conflicts.
  • Communicate transparently about decisions, valuing team input.

These steps help create a trusting and collaborative environment within teams.

“Every opportunity we have with our team, with a colleague, is an opportunity to betray or build their trust.” – Zach Montroy

Evaluate work success along the way, not just at the end, by utilizing “mile markers” and feedback

Your values plus your habits equal your culture.

To effectively evaluate the progress of projects or activities in your business, establish a system that continuously assesses what is working and what is not.

Instead of waiting until the end to determine success or failure, incorporate “mile markers” throughout the process that will serve as checkpoints, allowing you to check your status and make necessary adjustments along the way.

By gathering feedback and analyzing new data, you and your team can adjust or tweak your strategies and make informed decisions in a timely manner.

It’s crucial to be intentional about seeking feedback regularly and planning for evaluation throughout the journey.

Remove workplace dysfunction by reassessing your culture, habits and core values

To foster a healthier dynamic within a team in the next week or two, it’s crucial to focus on aligning values, assessing culture, and cultivating intentional habits.

Here’s a breakdown of the key steps:

  • Start with your values: Reflect on your core values as an organization and evaluate their relevance and alignment with your desired identity.
  • Envision your culture: Think about what you want your team and company to be and what you hope people would say about working with or for you to help shape your desired culture.
  • Identify your habits: Look at the behaviors and actions that reflect your values and contribute to your culture.
  • Bridge values and habits: Make sure your daily actions align with your values to establish a consistent culture.

Focusing on these elements and intentionally changing your habits will bring you one step closer to removing workplace dysfunction for a more positive work culture.


  • Workplace dysfunction can spread negativity and destroy productivity. To overcome this, prioritize a healthy work environment based on transparency, trust, and accountability.
  • To build trust, leaders should apologize for their role in toxic behavior, actively seek feedback, clarify expectations, and involve the team in decision-making processes.
  • Assess work success throughout the process using ‘mile markers’ and ongoing feedback instead of waiting until the end for an evaluation.
  • The first step to having a healthier team dynamic is to start with your values and habits. Recognize the critical link between your values and the habits you cultivate. Align your actions with your values to establish a consistent culture.


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About guest – Zach Montroy

People, Team & Organizational Strategist, Founder & CEO

The Intention Collective

Zach is a change agent and leadership team coach who has spent two decades in executive roles, honing his expertise in organizational strategy, people operations, leadership, and scaling companies. With a passion for helping leaders expand their impact and build trust, Zach draws from his extensive experience to help companies align their mission and values with their strategy.

Over the last five years, Zach has focused on helping entrepreneurs scale and grow their businesses, bringing his knowledge and insights to bear on the stickiest issues facing high-growth organizations. With a deep understanding of the importance of both strategy and culture in achieving sustainable growth, Zach helps companies create high-functioning, high-impact organizations through his innovative approach to leadership.

Website: https://www.intentioncollective.co/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/zacharymontroy/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/intention-collective/

Email: Zach@IntentionCollective.co

Books Mentioned:

  1. John Gottman: What Makes Love Last?: How to Build Trust and Avoid Betrayal 
  2. Brené Brown: Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone
  3. Jim Collins: Beyond Entrepreneurship 2.0: Turning Your Business into an Enduring Great Company
  4. Kim Scott: Radical Candor: Be a Kick-Ass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity

About host – Kathy Svetina

Kathy Svetina is a Fractional CFO for growing small businesses with $10M+ in annual revenue.

Clients hire her when they’re unsure about what’s going on in their finances, are stressed out by making financial decisions, or need to structure their finances to keep up with their growth.

She solves their nagging money mysteries and builds a financial structure with a tailored financial strategy. That way they can grow in a financially healthy and sustainable way.

Kathy is based in Chicago, IL and works with clients all over the US.

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