Toxic environments are created by poor leadership. Toxic environments, toxic cultures – they flourish when leadership chooses to ignore a problem person or issue, and hopes that it will go away or ‘sort itself out’. Toxic cultures and workplaces start with ‘drift’ – the difference between what is expected in behaviour and performance, and what is delivered.
We expect our leaders to have a clear idea on what the direction is – and what behaviours are necessary to meet that direction. When we move away from that path, or drift, a correction is needed – often through a conversation. Ignore the requirement for the conversation and the behaviour is thought to be accepted, and drifts further from what is required.Let these conversations go often enough, and you end up with a big problem that everyone can see, but no one has done anything about.
This is how toxic cultures begin.
Toxic cultures start, and can end, with clear communication, clear standards and clear leadership.