Toxic Behaviours: How To Rebuild Safe Cultures

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Bad or toxic behaviour from a leader or group of leaders has lasting impacts. Of course, it affects those who come into direct contact with the behaviour, sometimes in life-changing ways.

But perhaps more damaging to the business is the effect that it has on the cultural norms. As a group of humans who work together, we hear about the behaviour or the results of the original sins. The original behaviours don’t have to be experienced to create a strong imprint.

We as a wider group, partly for our need to be socially included (I know I’m generalising) and partly because we are primed for danger signs (and again), adopt the cultural messages (and again).

It is as if there is a metaphorical line that we won’t cross in fear of being chastised, ridiculed, penalised, judged, silenced, excluded etc. I like to call this the ‘fear line’ and I imagine a yellow and black plastic barricade tape signalling to us where it is that we are safe, and the danger that lies on the other side.

The original behaviour may have actually stopped, may not exist anymore and yet the ‘fear line’ still holds its ground, like a powerful fable.

If you are aware that this fear line is driving the cultural norms of the organisation and yet the original behaviour doesn’t exist anymore, perhaps ask these questions with your leadership team:

1)      Why is it there?

2)      What function does it serve (positive and negative)?

3)      What do we need to do to modify it?

4)      What are the economic implications if we don’t.

And of course, if the original behaviour is still there ask these:

1)      Why is it there?

2)      What function does it serve (positive and negative)?

3)      What do we need to do to modify it?

4)      What are the economic implications if we don’t.

As always, I'd love to keep talking, let me know your thoughts.

Amy


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Amy helps teams use the psychology of groups to their advantage. Her programs drive connection, communication and courage for remarkable achievements. Please see The Safe Space and DrAmySilver.com


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