One bad apple can ruin the bunch...
Is there someone that you work with that constantly irritates you or pushes your buttons? Doesn’t listen to you? That’s constantly self-absorbed? That continually criticizes you and others on the team? That takes credit for your work and presents it as their own? Do you put up with their bad behavior or have you taken steps to address it?
I recently got a call from a friend who was, again, practically in tears over her boss. I was puzzled at first as this was her dream job. She was working as head of the Supply Chain organization at a major corporation. She had worked hard to secure this prestigious position and she embraced her leadership responsibilities and loved working with her team. She shared with me that, despite this, she was ready to quit after only being there for a few years. I could remember how excited she was to grow with the company when she had first started there.
Over the last few months, however, all she spoke of was how she couldn’t wait to get out. It appeared there was a toxic culture that stemmed from the influence of one person. She had taken all the obvious steps of sharing feedback with this individual, discussing it with her HR business partner, and so on; yet none of the behaviors changed with this toxic leader.
On this particular day she broke her big news to me: she had found another opportunity and had given her resignation. She also shared that there were several others that had left the company over the past year because of the toxic culture created by this particular leader. It was easier for employees to leave than to try to change that individual. We’ve all heard bromides like, “one bad apple ruins the bunch”. There are countless studies that show how having just one toxic employee on a team can negatively impact the performance of other members in the team and hurt company culture. It is a shame that her company lost her.
In our book The F Place written with my co-author Christine Strobush, we explore many leadership styles and the impact that these styles can have on a team and a company’s culture. Sharing the book with your team and discussing key leadership themes is a great way to start a conversation in an insightful yet entertaining way.
At the end of the book there is an entire discussion section in which readers are left to ponder things like: How were the values applied by the various characters, and how did it impact the people and culture?