In a damaged and divisive culture, can people in subordinate positions make a difference? If you're talking about a massive organizational transformation, not likely. For it is leadership which defines the culture. It is the leaders who can make THINGS happen and initiate change. We're just the little people. What can we do?
Expecting external change will only result in frustration, misery and discontent, for one cannot control what is the outside. What happens within is the only thing in our hands. When we master ourselves - our emotions and our actions - an inner transformation begins. And this will carry you through the toughest work environment.
How does one counter a challenging culture, and in the process transform oneself? I present some practical ways:
1)Practice excellent work ethics. Come to work well-groomed and on time. Perform your job and exceed expectations.
2)Seek positive individuals. Quell the urge to participate in gossip and bitchfests.
Keep cordial and warm relations with the "nega-stars" but limit your interactions with them.
3)Be kind and respectful to your superiors even if they are not.
4)Resist the urge to leave without first leaving a legacy. It need not be grandiose or even tangible. It could be the legacy of kindness. Or helpfulness. Or positivity in the midst of adversity.
5)Befriend people from all departments and all levels. Not politically for future favors, but sincerely.
6)Patronize your company's products.
7)Speak up clearly when given a venue to be heard but make sure what you say is geared toward the mutual interests of both the company and the employees.
Much of misery at work comes from the "if only's" and the "should be's" without seeing things from the Company's point of view. This mindset gets you stuck on the problem, not on the solution. And that is just foolishness, and frankly, isn't it a little exhausting?
Don't we all just want to do our work happily? Who says that would have to depend on the Company?