Toxic Commodities

Here are few “commodities” at work that, when valued over people and true collaboration, may indicate that a toxic culture pervades: Job grades, power plays such as making people always walk to you, protecting common information, gossip, and presuming the worst the most of others & having the freedom and audience to share it.  This list is not exhaustive.  

Ideally, commodities at work would include some of the following: ability to create solutions, being curious, willingness to seek others’ input, giving credit publicly to other people and teams, right-placing people in roles, and possessing a spirit of teaching and sharing knowledge.

Walking into a meeting or a battle

Have you ever walked into a meeting & realized after a few minutes that what you really walked into was a political battle?  The other person brought their proverbial swords and chainmail. You brought a notebook or laptop for notes.

Political battles are incredibly frequent in many organizational cultures.  It is difficult to give a single recommendation on the approach to take in these situations because each is unique.  However, remember to remain calm, ask questions, and if needed, respectively end the meeting with an agreed follow up.  That will give your time to reflect and ask for more clarity.  

Foundations of Respect

The past couple weeks in the U.S. has seen news filled with divisiveness and hatred from all walks of the political spectrum.  Individual social media posts have reflected much of the same as people have taken positions.   

It is so difficult in highly charged situations to withhold blame and engage in respectful ways.  To not retaliate.  Ideally, those who lead would help model this.  In the absence of such, the onus remains on each person to do so. 

This, in addition to other conversations I’ve had and material I’ve engaged in, prodded me to dig into some of the ways we demonstrate and show respect to others:

  • Listen

  • Encourage

  • Acknowledge

  • Expresses appreciation

  • Honor / enforce confidentiality

This list simply is an initial list, and I am sure you have ideas that can be added here.  None of these enlist agreement with someone else. They all demonstrate curiosity to understand and value of the other person.  These are foundational for communication – especially when we disagree.