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Your role in a toxic work environment

Mark Cuban, Dallas Mavericks owner and SharkTank extraordinaire, was hit with devastating news. The normal straightforward, cut to the bottom-line type of guy experienced his own medicine. Sports Illustrated exposed his team’s “corrosive workplace culture” over a twenty-year span in an article earlier this year. Yet, here’s what most people are missing in the discussion. Workplace environment is more than how you treat the other gender or how diversified your workforce is. That’s what the surface level discussion is. This is what’s really going on. First, people project their subconscious inadequacy on to others. This shows up in a variety of ways.   A leader is afraid a team member won’t bring the project in on time and thus won’t delegate tasks. The leader does not want to be perceived as having a team that failed at something. This shows employees they are undervalued.
  • When a problem comes up on a project, a leader tells the team what to do instead of allowing the team members to identify and co-create potential solutions. This creates limited visions for problem-solving.
  •  A team-lead yells at a team member for no reason. The team-lead is actually having personal issues at home and takes it out on someone else. Being on the receiving end of someone else’s anger does little for office morale.
 Second, most people tolerate mistreatment.
  • Most people put up with being treated unfairly. Employees fail to teach others how they want to be treated. When this occurs, a leader never even realizes something bad has happened.
  • Employees are more willing to share common issues with fellow employees yet fail to let management know there is an issue. A leader cannot change what they are unaware of. 
Toxic environments come in many forms. We all have work to do here. It’s time to take a deep dive.  1)      What are you projecting onto other people, at work or at home?  2)      What behavior do you tolerate?  Toxic environments come in multiple forms; those who create and those who tolerate it.  Wishing you an abundant, joyful and prosperous day! Lora Polowczuk Chief Energy Officer © Priority Retreats International

Want more control? Do this. 

Bill ran his team like clock work. At the weekly team meeting, he asked each team member to give a status update. Bill then promptly told the team member exactly how to fix the issue. Over the course of the year, Bill’s team became resentful. The team frequently talked about Bill’s controlling style, which made them feel inferior and unable to propose innovative solutions that were superior to Bill’s ideas. Overtime, Bill’s team began to find new jobs. In one month over half his team resigned. Bill complexed to what was happening, ask one of his team members if they had any insight. The young guy, unable to look Bill directly in the eyes, said softly “You tell us what to do.” Our team isn’t allowed to make suggestions or propose new ideas. It is not a fun place to work when we get our own creative mojo on. Bill thanked the young guy for his honesty. Bill sighed. He went home that night. Unable to sleep, he began to think about how he can go about this differently. The next morning, Bill was called into the CEO’s office. The CEO stated that another member of his team resigned. Calmly, the CEO asked, what’s going on? Bill, with a somber reserve, stated how he was telling people what to do instead of letting his team self-correct and work with each other to troubleshoot project issues. To move anything forward, control only works on yourself. To be effective, collaborate with others.  Wishing you an abundant, joyful and prosperous day! Lora Polowczuk Chief Energy Officer © Priority Retreats International

This one thing shows how much you love yourself and others.

David’s chaotic life felt like the nose hairs freezing on an unbearable cold day. Every breath only made it feel worse. Anything made David snap, get angry, and take it out on others.  His project team kept missing deadlines so they were fearful to ask him questions. His wife who also worked long hours was no longer affectionate with him.  He yelled at his kids for not keeping their toys cleaned up. David, in a small voice in his head, ”this has got to stop. I’m no longer myself.” He looked at himself in the hallway mirror.  He said out loud., “The only person that can transform this is me.” After a deep breath and sigh, David pulled out his steno meeting pad and started writing feverishly. Here’s what I will no longer tolerate:
  • A lack of energy
  • A lack of affection
  • A messy household
  • A team that misses deadlines
Then, David wrote: Here’s how I will counter each:
  • I will go for a daily walk at lunch to re-energize and let off steam.
  • I will schedule a date night with my wife every Thursday night.
  • My wife and I will set new rules for the kids.
  • I will be open to support my team so they can hit their deadlines.
He posted this on his bathroom mirror so he could be reminded of it daily. The more you love yourself, the less nonsense you will tolerate. What will you stop tolerating? Be the role model for the behavior you want exhibited around you. Wishing you an abundant, joyful and prosperous day! Lora Polowczuk Chief Energy Officer © Priority Retreats International