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Leadership Insights #5: Are you leading a team that is becoming toxic?

Published 11 months ago • 4 min read

Hello Leaders,

Early in my career, I encountered a transformative experience that shaped my leadership style.

Unfortunately, I chose to ignore an employee's toxic behavior because of their exceptional skills and performance. Tolerating their negativity affected our team's morale and trust in my leadership. The toxic environment undermined my credibility and gave the impression of favoritism. Though my belief has always been in a people-first approach, corporate pressures and the fear of impacting the team's performance made me hesitant to address the issue promptly. This only exacerbated the problem, spreading the toxicity throughout the team and impacting productivity.

Although the numbers looked great, we were struggling as a team. Conference calls were brutal, no one spoke up, and when people did, other team members would cut them off or dismiss their ideas. When we were fortunate enough to be together as a team, I would hear gossip and noticed the silos and team members avoiding each other. It was a clear example of what poor leadership can do to impact a team.

Fortunately, a team member approached me and provided valuable feedback that stung at the time. He sat across from me and said, "Your leadership style is ineffective and is impacting the team. You are losing credibility, people are talking about looking for new jobs, and the numbers may look great now, but that will not last. Erin, you are better than this."

I wanted to jump across the table because his feedback made me feel vulnerable and upset, but I made a commitment to the team that I would always listen and adapt to do what was right for the team. I replied, "Thank you for having the courage for sharing this with me. I appreciate your dedication to wanting to improve the culture."

Knowing he had a leadership and development background, I asked, "Do you have any ideas?" He replied, "Yes, I do." :)

We then went on a journey as a team that forever changed me not only as a leader, but as a person. I am grateful everyday for this leader having the courage to speak up. I had to be vulnerable and take a long look in the mirror. The situation we were in was due to me ignoring what I knew were toxic behaviors.

That never happened again and never will. I will always put people first, because I know results will follow. Plus, it is just the right thing to do, and you will have a lot more fun along the way!

Today, I've learned from my mistakes and committed to leading differently. I believe that achieving excellent results and fostering a positive work culture can go hand in hand.

I share my personal journey and the lessons I've learned, hoping to inspire fellow leaders to prioritize their team's well-being, build trust, and create a culture where success and a sense of belonging thrive together. Let's embrace leadership that genuinely cares for our people while driving remarkable results.

-Erin Robison,
Owner/Founder TruPotential Group

Avoid Toxicity in the Workplace and Build a Thriving Work Culture

In the fast-paced corporate world, leaders often face immense pressure to achieve impressive results. While striving for success is vital, focusing solely on numbers and neglecting the well-being of employees can have devastating consequences for an organization’s culture and long-term success.

There are several negative consequences that take place when we put results over people. Some examples:

  • Erosion of Trust & Credibility
  • Toxic Work Environment
  • High Employee Turnover
  • Reduced Employee Engagement & Productivity

Instead, we want to build a thriving work culture that balances achievement with the well-being of your team. Here are some things to consider implementing today:

  • Leadership Development Programs
  • Recognition & Rewards Systems
  • Work-Life Balance Initiatives

I share more details in our article below. Reach out if you have any specific questions about your particular situation.

Featured Service

The way we “team” is more complex than ever before. Whether we are collaborating in person, through screens, or a little of both, building a successful team can feel downright impossible. The Five Behaviors® model focuses on building skills and understanding in the areas of Trust, Conflict, Commitment, Accountability, and Results. This provides a common language for your teams to build a solid foundation, stay productive, and avoid toxic behaviors. We can facilitate this training in person or virtually.

Featured Resources

Leaders Eat Last

This is one of my all time favorite books! Simon Sinek shares effective strategies on how leaders can build great teams and avoid toxicity.

4 Deadly Sins of Work Culture

In this episode, Adam explores how to recognize the four deadly sins of work culture before you join an organization, and shares strategies that can help shape a thriving workplace from the inside.

Favorite Quote

Featured Review

I’ve been through many corporate trainings over the years and very few, if any, provided the clarity, engagement and enjoyment TruPotential Group was able to provide to our team. Highly recommend!!!

David Radel

Where in the World is George?

Meet George, our Chief Happiness Officer! George is working at Copper Creek Golf Course in Colorado helping Morgan, a ranger and Val his BFF and beverage cart girl. He is always up for some goose-chasing action whenever it's needed and would love to be a permanent addition to the bev cart team!

Hello, from Boston!

We traveled to Boston last week to meet with clients, prospects, and colleagues! Thanks for making it such a fun and productive time!

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TruPotential Group

We are TruPotential Group focused on innovative, energizing leadership development for corporations and teams. We specialize in change management, one-on-one executive coaching, communication & collaboration tools, personality profile assessments, presentation and facilitation skills, media training, in-person and virtual facilitation. Contact us to learn more.

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TruPotential Group
Denver, Colorado

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Hello! We are TruPotential Group!

Leadership Development & Corporate Training | Executive Coaching

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