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Wednesday, September 10, 2014


Nobody likes to work in a toxic work environment.  There are a lot of variables that can cause the workplace to feel de-energizing, frustrating, and/or downright oppressive.  

Unfortunately, "the boss" is somehow implicated in many of those possible toxifying possibilities.

So, how can leaders act and behave in ways that mitigate such madness?

A few of my thoughts:

  • Actually care for the people who work with you.  Get to know them, what their interests are, what they struggle with, what makes 'em tick.  It's okay to care. Really.
  • Neither be a jerk, nor tolerate them as team members (for any length of time).
  • In as many ways a possible, make the workplace as pleasant and enjoyable as you can.  Fun is like medicine (both personally and organizationally). 
  • Ask for the help and the thinking of team members as often as possible.  Few things energize us as much as when we feel valued and that our contributions count.
  • Treat everyone respectfully (whether they've earned your respect or not).  The collateral damage that accrues when leaders mistreat anyone (deserving or not) is incalculable.
  • Understand that attitudes are contagious, in direct proportion to the level of authority.
  • When problems arise, tackle them as opportunities first.  Once resolved, then reflect on the root causes.  Jumping to conclusions and laying blame as an initial reaction will cause others to head for the exits.
  • Be accessible and be responsive. 
  • Paint desired outcomes as clearly as possible, but resist prescribing the pathways toward achievement.  Allow as much autonomy as you can stand (and just a tad bit more).
  • Notice. Notice! NOTICE!  good work and acknowledge it relentlessly.
I want to follow leaders like that; I want to be a leader like that.

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