avoid toxic culture

How to Avoid Toxic Culture

by Dr. Rick Goodman on November 3, 2016

High stress. Constant turnover. Low morale. Little team cohesion. These are just some of the signs of a toxic work culture, and it’s important, before we go any further, to ask yourself: Is that the kind of workplace you have? Really think about it for a moment, because often those who work in a toxic environment don’t quite realize it; they question their own reality, or simply blame themselves for their unhappiness. But if you and your teammates struggle with engagement, with high anxiety, and with the constant interruptions of office politics and team discord, that may mean that your culture is simply poisonous.

That’s the bad news, but there’s some good news too: Leaders shape culture, and as such they can be proactive in fixing a culture that’s broken. It won’t be easy and it won’t be overnight, but there are some things you can do to remove the toxicity in your work environment.

I’m going to recommend a few detoxifying strategies here:

  • Consider open allocation culture. Instead of assigning work to each employee, allow them to gravitate toward teams and projects that they feel passionate about—just so long as they are working on initiatives that benefit the company.
  • Fire people who bring the company culture down—but don’t fire them cold. A big part of reserving healthy company culture is getting rid of the people you identify as toxic. Just make sure you counsel and coach them beforehand. Don’t create a work environment where employees are constantly afraid they could get axed without warning.
  • Invest in the development of your people. Don’t offer them a job; offer them a career, and a professional journey. This means mentoring, coaching, and using your annual review system to learn more about what your employees really want—and how you can help them achieve it.
  • Don’t grow too quickly. Don’t hire a person just because you need a warm body in the room. Hire because you find people whose gifts and passions align with your culture.
  • Encourage teamwork. Rather than creating projects meant to be worked on in siloes, create projects that are designed to be tackled by several team members working in tandem.

Again, these strategies won’t stamp out your toxic culture immediately—but they will help you to build something truly healthy and positive.

Dr. Rick Goodman CSP is a motivational keynote leadership speaker who provides solutions globally that help people and organizations lead, engage, and grow their business.

He is also the author of the book Living A Championship Life, “A Game Plan for Success,” and the co–author of the book Jamie’s Journey: Travels with My Dad written with his sixteen-year-old daughter Jamie.

Dr. Rick is famous for helping organizations, corporations, and individuals with systems and strategies that produce increased profits and productivity without having the challenges of micromanaging the process. Some of Dr. Rick’s clients include Heineken, AT&T, Boeing, Cavium Networks, IBM, Hewlett Packard, and Franklin Templeton Investments.

Contact Dr. Rick at www.rickgoodman.com or call 888-267-6098 about speaking at your next event!

Dr. Rick GoodmanHow to Avoid Toxic Culture