Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Do We Have a Toxic Workplace?

I bought the last one at Barnes and Noble (review forthcoming). The topic of toxicity in the church is a good topic for clergy for two reasons. One, if we can prevent toxic behaviors, such as bullying, passive hostility, and shaming, everyone now and in the future will benefit. Two, if we've ever had the fun of working with, supervising, or working under a toxic individual, we can learn the importance of respectful engagement and human dignity.

The topic also begs other questions, like:
  • How do I sometimes exhibit unhealthy and yes, toxic behaviors?
  • How does my community of faith tolerate or enable toxicity?
  • How can we survive a toxic workplace?
The point made about toxicity is that we treat it as an individual problem, when it is also a team and organizational problem. The "bad apple" metaphor is not very accurate- a more realistic comparison could be infection or cancer. Start with organizational values, such as respect for all. Incorporate these values in measurements for team effectiveness and individual fruitfulness.

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