Another interesting speech on an unexpected subject but one that needs to be discussed in a more open way. "How to survive toxic individuals and organisations?"
I remember starting a new job and on the first day the HR director pulled me aside and told me to "walk on eggs around a certain employee, because of her poisonous character." I was amazed that an organisation was being held hostage by one individual even if they were quite good at their job. Who lets this happen?
Over my career I have always come across one person who exhibited toxic behaviours either to myself or others around me. It was amazing how one person could often make everyday less enjoyable than that day should be, how their behaviour towards me affected my sense of sense.
What I also learnt was that no amount of coaching, engagement or collaboration made any difference to their behaviour - they were hard wired to be toxic.
Also, we read so much on LinkedIn about the new empathetic leaders at this time. Nice words, but over and over toxic organisations I see can deliver exceptional results or at least results that match those that are empathetic. Toxic organisations are about dog eat dog, survival of the fittest and even one place I worked where the mantra was "do everything and anything to take out your boss." This is a company that delivers exceptional growth, EBITDA growth and whose share price continues to amaze.
So what do we do about such toxic environments ?
I got a nice email the other day from an ex employee who "thanked me as a leader for protecting the team from the toxic environment" so this is one action. The other is to call toxic behaviour out and to explain the impact it does have on productivity and culture and show the alternative approaches that can be taken.
HOT OF THE PRESS - today saw Rio Tinto CEO publish an internal report about their toxic internal culture with sexual harassment, bullying and discrimination rife.
Finally, we all have a choice to make. To either be part of promoting a toxic environment, survive in a toxic enviroment or decide to work in jobs we enjoy and with people we like.
If anyone is struggling with a toxic situation feel free to contact me for any advice I can give ... cheers