It always strikes me as odd when people talk or write about a “toxic workplace” or “toxic people in a workplace” and how quick we should fire them or why top people resign from a “toxic” workplace. You cannot with one broad stroke declare a workplace toxic. People seem eager to tell us what “toxic” is rather than what it is not and I am always skeptical about the motive behind that rationale.
Ok, so the criteria used for deciding what is a toxic workplace and what caused it can be a dangerous exercise if people’s discernment capabilities are lacking or laced with prejudice. What is deemed toxic to one is not toxic to another. I have worked in a workplace where there were massive disagreements to the point of verbal outbursts and abuse on how strategy should be executed, and some people did not like the sight of each other, but the work got done and sometimes it sadly stalled to sort things out. Some people saw that and said we should all be fired for our behaviour which they deemed as “toxic”. Ridiculous! Before you call a workplace or people toxic you must know the difference between what real poison is and what normal robust human behaviour is and what the outcome on production is and if the lack of production is due to poison, because not all lack of production is due to a perceived “toxic” workplace. It absurd to think that. There are many other factors involved.
I have in my travels been exposed to workplaces that are highly charged with negative emotion but still the company is highly productive and profitable and yes of course if the workplace climate improved it would be even better. That is a given.
Don’t confuse things like human diversity, bluntness, straightforwardness, disagreements, robust behaviour and debate, different personalities, outbursts, dissimilarities, or truthfulness as toxic and as direct causes of a difficult workplace. Become emotionally intelligent so that you are self aware and aware of others and have a better understanding of your “toxic” workplace.
Marcus is the leading South African and African Speaker, Teacher, Assessor, and Writer in applied emotional intelligence for leadership, sales, and workplace human development. Marcus is a certified emotional intelligence practitioner with Genos International. Marcus has a platform of ideas, training and human assessments dedicated to the advancement of emotional intelligence in people for people excellence. Marcus speaks to organizations with a wealth of experience in human development and getting ahead in a competitive environment with their greatest assets – their PEOPLE!
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