It's good to see that more and more attention is being paid to issues regarding toxicity in the workplace. At the same time, people have started to wise up to the problems related to gender differences and the extra divide that comes from that direction. There has been a lot of research on the topic too, and one particular trend has started to materialize lately: it's becoming more and more clear that some men in high positions of authority have a tendency to let that power go to their heads, and they subsequently end up undermining the performance of their entire operations and let their businesses run into red.
Toxicity at the Workplace Can Happen at All Levels
Toxic behavior is not limited to low-ranking employees, rather it is quite on the contrary. Research from the Harvard Business Review, has shown that men, of a CEO position, tend to be more prone to developing and displaying such behavior. There have been instances of overconfidence from higher-ups resulting in the ruin of entire organizations, as shown by the latest research from Company Rescue which tell us that UK SMEs with men on the board are more likely to go bust. So how do we resolve this issue?
It's Not an Easy Problem to Tackle
It's a very complicated problem to address in the first place because it spans across multiple areas of the organization and requires a good approach to all of them. It's important to have good communication with the company's leadership, ensure that there are adequate channels for voicing concerns, and even then, you'll still have to deal with the problem that overconfident people tend to have issues with being confronted in the first place.
Don't be surprised if your feedback falls on deaf ears – it's an expected part of doing this. Be prepared to take some harsh measures as well. If you realize that the company is beyond saving, talk to insolvency practitioners, such as Company Rescue, to ensure that you have a smooth exit. They can give expert advice to guide you through the process.
Identifying Problematic Patterns
It's a good idea for an organization to know how to identify these patterns before they turn detrimental. From doing this, the toxic behavior can be addressed at its root instead of letting it fester. Ensure that employees have some way of reporting issues on this front. For example, if women have a problem tied to gender imbalance. Whenever an issue is identified, make sure to act on it as fast as possible. In this scenario, perhaps hiring more women could help?
All in all, overconfidence in the workplace rarely leads to anything productive. Dealing with it requires a determined approach and you must be prepared to face some resistance along the way. To maximise your company's chance of survival in the long run, ensure to pay attention to these issues and resolve them as soon as possible.
4 min read
One of the few things I remember from grade school biology is the concept of tropism. In plain language, tropism is the reaction of a living thing, like a plant, towards a stimulus like sunlight or heat. You've likely seen this before but just didn't recognize it for what it was. If you've ever seen the leaves of a potted plant bending towards a windowpane, that's tropism in action. The plant is bending towards the sunlight.
If you've ever seen the leaves of a potted plant bending towards a windowpane, that's tropism in action.
In our everyday lives, we are all inundated with stimuli throughout the day. The driver in front of us that stalls at the yellow light and zooms through the red light, leaving us behind to wait. Or the customer service rep that leaves us on hold for an ungodly amount of time, only for the call to prematurely drop. There are so many examples both common and unique to our individual lives. The trouble begins when we form the habit of responding to everything — particularly negative stimuli. By doing this, our mental peace is disrupted and diverted making us slaves to whatever happens to happen. Much like the plant bending towards sunlight, we oftentimes react and lean into whatever is happening around us. Now take that concept and multiply it by the number of things that can happen in a day, week, or month. What happens to you mentally with so many emotional pivots?
For me, the result is: Restlessness. Anxiety. Sleepness. Mindless Eating. Everything besides peace of mind.
Much like the plant bending towards sunlight, we oftentimes react and lean into whatever is happening around us.
Earlier this year, something pretty trivial happened to me. I'm sure this has happened to you at some point in your life also. I was walking through a door and, as I always do, glanced back and held the door longer and wider than normal for the person coming behind me. My gracious gesture was met with silence — no thank you, no smile, not even a nod. I remember being so annoyed at this travesty of justice. How dare they not acknowledge me and thank me for holding the door? After all, I didn't have to do it. I know I spent the next few hours thinking about it and probably even texted a few friends so that they could join in on my rant and tell me how right I was to be upset. In hindsight, I should not have allowed this pretty petty thing to occupy my mind and heart, but I did. I let it shake my peace.
I've since taken some classes on mindfulness and what I've learned (and I'm still learning) is the art of being aware — being aware of the present and my feelings. Recognizing when I'm triggered towards annoyance or anger gives me the opportunity to take a step back to understand why and assess whether it deserves my attention and energy. We're all human and having emotions is part of the deal but as mindful adults, it's critically important to choose what you're going to care about and let everything else pass along. There are several tools on the market to help with this but the Headspace app has really helped me in my mindfulness journey. The lessons are guided and coupled with some pretty cute animations.
Recognizing when I'm triggered towards annoyance or anger gives me the opportunity to take a step back to understand why and assess whether it deserves my attention and energy.
Over the course of the next week, I'd like to challenge you to pay more attention to your reactions. How aware are you of how you allow your environment to affect you? Are you highly reactive? Do you ruminate for hours or even days on events that are insignificant in your life? If so, practicing a bit of mindfulness may be the way to go.