Why do organizations tolerate dysfunctional interactions that destroy trust? And what prevents leaders from confronting toxic behaviors effectively? In this short clip, Elizabeth Holloway, PhD in Psychology, provides a useful introduction to understanding how toxic behaviors persist.
To access the complete presentation, click here
Our Viewpoint on Toxic Behaviors in Organizations
As Dr. Holloway argues toxic behavior relies on a system with different players. Identifying the participants in a toxic situation can help everyone gain clarity about the dynamics at play and decide for themselves what is the right course of action, whether as a leader or as a participant.
In her presentation, Holloway identifies three players in a toxic behavior system as:
- The perpetrator,
- The protector and
- The buffer,
For good measure, I will add the notion of:
In fact, once a pattern of toxic behavior is entrenched, everybody in the organization becomes an avoider to some degree. (As we will see later this often also applies to the leader.)
What holds the situation in place is fear. Most of us have no expertise in confronting toxic behavior. Besides, in many instances the person calling out the toxic behavior gets labelled the trouble maker. So no one thinks they have anything to gain through confrontation.
The Making of a Toxic Culture
This article was first published in TRUST MAGAZINE winter 2016
Most executives give little thought, if any, to how trust in action strengthens the performance of organizations. Trust is just not a priority for them. Why that is so remains a leadership puzzlement, especially when a growing body of evidence indicates that trust is key to success.
In one-on-one conversations leaders often admit that, in fact, they are not sure how to build trust. But such moments of candor are brief and generally followed by rationalizing that trust-building takes too much time anyway.
Whatever rationale is put forward to ignore trust; the fact remains trust is not just nice to have. It’s the center piece that determines how individuals behave and interact — whether team members are open with information or secretive, inclined to help out or hold back, willing to take risks or just looking to play it safe.
What to do?
Elon Musk discusses how collaboration needs to be a concern even when hiring exceptionally talented individuals because their ability to work well with others is essential.
To watch the complete interview click here
Collaboration is key to having teams function well. The level of collaboration impacts both the team’s ability to perform and its ability to innovate. Keeping in mind that even the smartest person will have to interface with others in order to be effective is an essential part of a healthy hiring process.