One of the things I enjoy about sharing my writings and insights on leadership is the opportunity it creates to interact with my readers – to hear their stories and what they’ve learned along the way, as well as some of the challenges they are trying to overcome.
Recently, one challenge in particular caught my attention as it was brought forth by both a reader of my leadership blog and by an audience member at a talk I gave last week. The challenge in question was what do you do if you have to lead a team in a toxic workplace setting? And how can you overcome this to effectively lead your employees?
Given the interest expressed by two different segments of my audience, I want to share some key steps leaders should employ to help cure toxic workplaces and replace them with a more healthy, productive work environment.
Granted, I can’t provide specific steps because every situation is different and comes with its own set of variables and constraints that leaders will have to work with. However, the following measures will nonetheless provide you with both the right perspective and framework to help cure toxic workplaces in your organization.
1. Identify and rally ‘change champions’ in your organization
Now before we can put into action measures to cure a toxic workplace, we need to first understand something about how our brain operates. Neuroscience has shown that our brains are hard-wired to avoid threats in our environment.
Consequently, not only is our brain focused more on looking out for danger than benefits, but the neural signals we get from our different senses are processed first through that lens of whether it’s a good or bad experience before our higher brain functions can help us to create a context for what we’re seeing, hearing, or feeling.
Now it’s important to note here that it’s not just dangerous or harmful events that our brain identifies as threats. Rather, it labels anything that creates ambiguity or uncertainty as a threat and consequently, something we should avoid. And all of this happens subconsciously which is why we may not be able to rationally explain why we fear something, only that we do.
In the case of making changes to your workplace environment, even though Click here to continue reading »