Is Your Toxic Culture Repairable?
By Alan Olsen
How is the mood at your workplace? Do people enjoy coming to work? Is there a feeling of unity and teamwork? Or, would you rather spend all day at the dentist instead of another day in the office with “those people?” The work environment plays a huge role in how well a company functions. It also plays a key role in a company’s success. If you work in a toxic culture, chances are no one is happy and the entire company is suffering. So the question iscan thiskind of environment be repaired?
It Starts With the Leadership
First off, how does a workplace turn toxic in to begin with? You might think it’s because of a couple of bad seeds that wreck things for everyone else. While the bad seeds play a key role, the real problem starts with the leadership in the company. When a workplace turns toxic it’s because leadership either didn’t see what was happening, or they simply chose to ignore it. In other words, it all falls on the leadership to set the right tone in the workplace. If they fail to do this, then anything can, and usually will, go wrong.
Time to Get Fixin’
The first step is to recognize the problem and accept that it exists. So what do you do after you know you have a problem? Leaders must start by accepting responsibility for the problem. They can’t blame others. After all, they are the leaders and they need to take the lead. That could mean facing some harsh realities about oneself. But good leaders can look at their mistakes, accept that they need to change, and then start the process to make those changes.
Take an In-Depth Look
The next step is to take a closer look at the issues that are causing this toxic environment. There are several things to look for that could be causing problems. You have to identify them and then work to rectify them. You should be looking for any signs of people who are using the following tactics in there interactions with the rest of the team: status, certainty, autonomy, relatedness, and fairness. If you see these behaviors then youmust address them and correct them. They all lead to toxicity and less productivity.
Restore the Peace
The next step is to show compassion for those who are suffering. You want to bring back a feeling of peace in the workplace. You do this by reducing fear and anxiety and restoring a feeling of psychological safety. You need to eliminate those threatening behaviors and establish communication and positive feedback instead. When people feel safe, productivity will increase.
Share Your Plan
Lastly, you need to make your plan to restore the peace well known. Everyone should be aware and involved in the restoration process. Identify each person’s strengths, and pinpoint his or her role in the plan. Make room for everyone and provide a plan to give and receive feedback. Most of all show compassion and encourage everyone to come together to make it a safe place to work.