Quote from Repat
Thanks, sjoe! You said it! So, how to change?
1) re-read my post, since I edited it again.
2) read a LOT of books on leadership (and you could do worse than starting with Rudy G.'s recent book "Leadership"), effective management (the Dummies series has several good ones on management and leadership for starters, and contains many ideas for further references and learning). But don't go overboard on reading--10 good books will be enough to understand what these people are talking about.
3) look around and see what is really going on in your facility, with those ideas in mind. Which ones seem best bets for your situation?
4) be aware of what kind of environment motivates YOU to do an excellent professional job, and actually think about what motivates others near you to do the same thing (the details will be a bit different for everyone, but the same general atmosphere will be effective for most people).
5) be aware that perhaps 5% of people will NEVER be motivated to do an excellent job no matter what, so don't get bogged down trying to find the "key" to them. They need to leave anyway.
6) based on all this learning, research, practice, experimentation--begin to treat your situation in such a way that more functional behavior is likely to increase in your workplace. Make verbal or written suggestions and/or offers to supervisors and management on how to actually and measurably improve the situation. Keep track of what happens. Was the suggestion accepted? Was the implementation adequate? Was it effective? What would make any of these steps more effective? Etc.
7) unless you are the CEO, you will not be able to "fix everything," at one fell swoop (and not even then, BTW), so don't expect to. Accept promotions ONLY when you are reliably guaranteed the support you recognize is necessary to perform these management tasks effectively. Spell all this out at the promotion interview/offer (which means you will have already done your homework and will KNOW what is required).
8) know "when to hold 'em and when to fold 'em." Know when to move on when you can no longer be effective and/or your interventions simply make things worse because of the negative reaction AND lack of support from supervisors. No point in burning yourself out for no good end (particularly since to do so is only an indication that YOU don't know how to take an effective leadership role in your own life, just as your past managers haven't known what they are doing in the workplace).
9)then decide whether you need more formal or informal management training. If so, get it. Be a member of a sports team and pay attention to what are winning and losing strategies. Notice, watching sports on TV for example, how losing teams seem to be those with frequent member changes, negative feedback from coaches and owners, low morale, mutual backbiting, etc. Be aware that these are causes, not effects. Shop carefully for your next position so you don't wind up in a similarly frustrating and dead-end situation.
So, off the top of my head, those are the suggestions I offer.