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How to Shed Light on Hidden Agendas

Toxic opinions can disrupt organizations

Pretty much every organization has an organizational chart, which is an interesting lie that a group of people tells itself. Sure, there's little question that the CEO is in charge, and that rank-and-file workers with specific operational jobs tend to stick to those roles. But in the middle, things get messier.

Organizational culture is often defined as "the way we do things around here." But the way things get done often has little to do with what the official org chart says.

The problem with so-called “hidden org charts” isn’t so much that they prevent things from getting done (though they might). It’s that they keep leaders from getting a clear picture of how things are getting done, who’s doing them—and how much resentment is bubbling under the lack of clarity. Recently at Forbes, CEO Debra Rinell wrote about the problem of “cliquish leadership” and the toxicity it can create in organizations. In such environments, roles get blurred, people play favorites, a we’ve-always-done-it-that-way mindset creeps in. Org charts, which are drafted in the name of clarity and efficiency, fall by the wayside.

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