It’s confounding why so many leaders find it easier to build a toxic culture – where people attack each other with mean, highly personal and nasty language; where people are allowed and even encouraged to talk about things behind others backs; where people are judged and accordingly feel retribution for previous actions they took – there are just far too many companies with cultures like this.
What we find is this kind of culture suits the top leadership team because it means they have “control” and can execute decisions in the way that works for them. It means they can walk around with their suit of armour on and the culture supports them with added armory for even more protection.
Such cultures and leaders see vulnerability as a complete sign of weakness and this is compounded when the leaders also espouse that we “don’t do emotion”. They are proud to claim that they make no space for such stuff in the business. What they don’t realize is they are preventing people from being “real” with each other, encouraging each other and supporting each other to be “at their best.”
Too many leaders are still opting to rather lead a toxic culture because there it means they have a level of control and certainty! They fear unleashing the true potential of people in the business and encouraging people to be real and sharing emotion because as a leader I lose predictability. There are still not enough leaders truly prepared to step into this constructive space that brings out the best in the people they are leading!!
If you are leading a team of people and a business/business unit – take a hard look at yourself and see what kind of culture you are really creating. Ask yourself some tough questions and if you are feeling courageous ask those who you lead what they think and feel.