Right, you think, managers and achieving organizational excellence is probably the usual piece about why people matter, how to be a good manager, and so on. Well, not quite. Yes, people do matter and being a good manager can generate significant economies of scale by eradicating toxic workforce cultures.

I was inspired by a quote from one of the speakers during an international diversity & inclusion (D&I) seminar:

If someone purposely damaged an airplane, they would immediately be stopped. When problems with diversity are pointed out, which is also considered mission “sabotage,” that’s often repelled as damaging to the organization.

Listening to this powerful statement, I had my aha moment! Throughout my career, I faced many situations where my performance or work was deliberately sabotaged or taken credit for. Those who know me, know I am pretty resilient and thick-skinned, and my Dutch side always prevails. But it got to me, and often I just wanted to cry, and we all know that’s not an option.

My peers and superiors always kept saying be strong, don’t let them get to you, people will still be jealous the higher you climb up your career ladder. But why are those people who are purposely trying to undermine effective teamwork and top performance in an organization, not held accountable?

Why are organizations not publicly vowing for a zero-tolerance policy and take visible and concrete measures to create a psychologically safe environment for their workforce to thrive and achieve organizational excellence, without fear for repercussions?

It is widely recognized that diverse teams from all backgrounds and strata of society are higher performers, more productive, produce better results and increase organizational effectiveness which leads to maximized profits with purpose.

These same people often face all types of sabotaging from their colleagues if the root cause of toxic workplace culture is not addressed. This type of misbehavior affects many talented staff members who are likely to suffer burn-out, depression and have low-morale at work.

Three things managers can do now


1. Zero tolerance policy

Set and promote a zero-tolerance policy for intentional misbehavior that is sabotaging effective teamwork to the detriment of the organization. Hold those employees accountable for their actions and relieve the pressure on employees who are faced with misconduct from others on a daily basis. Create a safe environment and allow them to put forward their issues anonymously without fear for repercussions.

2. Education, Education, Education

Often people are not even aware they are misbehaving or the potential detrimental effect they have on their colleagues.

In most companies, D&I training is mandatory across the workforce. Ensuring D&I training modules becomes mainstream in your organization; and provide refreshers courses on a yearly basis. This will save you a lot of financial and emotional heartache down the road with this critical upfront investment in educating others.

3. Walk the talk

Finally, for employees to trust their leadership and believe their actions will make a difference, ensure your management walks the talk. Make sure their words are a direct reflection of their actions, and hold those who undermine organizational excellence accountable.

Invest in your talent, identify those high performers who are waiting to break through but are running into a glass ceiling. Demonstrate you mean what you say and that you do care about your employees by walking the talk.

Investing in hiring and training managers with high levels of emotional intelligence is key to a thriving workforce free from toxicity. Because if organizational leaders are not driving this top-down first, your employees will not feel empowered to follow suit.

Are you an organization struggling with workplace harassment and toxic work-cultures? Schedule your Discovery Session with Nadja and find out how we can help you build a thriving organizational culture!



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