January 7, 2016

Toxic People at Top Lead to a Toxic Workplace

The reason for a workplace to be toxic can be linked to the presence of toxic people at the top.

Toxic people are toxic for reasons that have to do with their lack of competence, discomfort outside a "yes sir" culture, lack of fairness, utter disregard to professionalism and use of manipulative tactics.

Such workplaces exhibit one or more of the following characteristics:
  • They are run (yes, run and not managed) by a coterie club of "yes sir" stooges. The stooges are a part of the club only due to their loyalty and handle areas in which they have zero competence.
  • They have people who would not copy some critical stakeholders on all relevant communication with an ulterior motive and also to clearly show who the loyalists are.
  • They are infested with another layer of toxic people who are loyalists of the stooges of the top man. Such people though at senior positions are totally unprofessional and highly manipulative. 
  • They have many more loyalists whose main motive is to justify their existence. These loyalists are those who may be someone with 22 years of experience performing the role that can easily be performed by someone with 12 years experience.
  • They have some people who have elephant-sized egos and carry a big attitude. Such people will not respond to emails, will always mark the top man or her stooges in their emails and act and behave as if others don't matter.
  • They have people who write silly, immature and childish emails. The top man and his coterie club is especially fond of writing silly, immature and childish emails more than others. The close loyalists of the stooges also are not far behind in such toxic acts.
Smaller organizations are perfect breeding ground for toxic workplaces to develop and grow. The toxicity in such organizations can be traced to the people at the top - the top person herself and her coterie club of "yer sir" stooges.

This group of people are typically the founding members and act like shopkeepers rather than professionals. And of course, they have poor listening skills since they think that what they know is all there is need to know.

Unfortunately, because of their lack of professionalism and their strange but expected comfort with their frog-in-the-well situation (even without realizing so), the toxic club at the top will slowly lead the organization to stalled growth and its eventual shutdown.

When growth in such organizations stalls or falls down, the toxic club will be clueless about how to handle that due to their lack of competence. In such situation, the number of silly, immature and childish emails will tend to increase in the name of strategy and action planning.

In addition, the coterie club of "yes sir" stooges will fear about getting exposed. And hence to hide their lack of competence would start setting unrealistic and unfair expectations from those outside the coterie club - the outsiders.

All outsiders in such organizations should expect to frequently come across unfair, non-transparent, manipulative and non-professional actions and behaviors from those in the toxic club.

And what should the outsiders do? There is really just one option - they must move on. Staying in a toxic workplace has severe adverse impact on physical and mental health and well-being.

Are you an outsider? If yes, then remember you deserve a better workplace to spend your professional energy. And if you are still contemplating what to do, move on quickly before its too late! Better late than  never.

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