I used to work in an organization where toxic behavior was not only tolerated...it was rewarded. Examples include:
Each of these people was promoted and is still working in the organization. Although many complaints were lodged – the people were experts in their field. We called them SME's (subject matter experts) – and because of their professional expertise, they were off the hook.
Sound impossible? Nope. We routinely work with organizations that have employees who are experts technically, but their behavior stinks. They are often referred to as "untouchables." Our research shows that 92% of those surveyed report that they work with at least one person who has been a problem at work, but who, in spite of bad behavior or poor performance, seems untouchable."
So, what can you do if your culture supports toxic behavior?
Stop the silence. Most people never, ever confront bad behavior or call it out to the person. The result? It continues to happen. Your silence tells the toxic person that it's "ok." If you are a leader, your silence tells the rest of the organization that "it's ok."
Evaluate the costs of this behavior. Take a moment and really ask yourself, what are the costs associated with tolerating this behavior and remaining silent. What are the costs to you, other employees?
Take our class. I'll shamelessly promote our class...Crucial Confrontations. This 2-day course can teach you to deal respectfully and effectively with bad behavior, violated expectations and poor performance.
We'd love to hear from you! Tell us about your "untouchables" and how you are handling them.