A friend of mine recently left a toxic culture and wrote about what she learned. Her experience offers a valuable perspective not often expressed so candidly. With her permission I’ve shared it here. Here’s what she had to say…in her own words.
What I Learned
- I learned how not to lead a team.
- The way you talk to people effects their morale, their commitment, their loyalty, their mood, their desire to do a good job, their desire to be there, and calling them sweetheart or honey, doesn’t make up for your bullshit.
- I learned you cannot fake being a good leader and to be one, is a choice you make every day. You are in a relationship with your employees and as it goes in any relationship, you must work at it every day. Words/looks/body language and actions, speak for themselves.
- I learned when running a business, that one of the first places to start is with systems and processes. If not, you are completely unorganized. You are forever behind the eight ball. You are constantly training your employees. You are never able to delegate with confidence, and holding employees accountable for the job they were hired to do is unrealistic. Nothing runs smoothly because the business has no guard rails in place.
- Similar to society, people like laws/rules/routines/guidelines to navigate their day to day lives. You can never meet an expectation, if the expectations are never clearly laid out and supported by the systems and processes.
- Like society, business employees need to be trained and allowed to settle into the roles they have been given. However, like traffic tickets, we sometimes need to be reminded (coached) *diplomatically, of the systems, processes, and expectations.
- I learned that trying to anticipate, read a mind, navigate a mood, be included in conversations not specified for your position, makes for a toxic environment.
- I learned that if you are seeing these major red flags after the first week, you should probably reevaluate if you want to continue.
- I learned that when the bad lessons list is longer than the good lessons list, leaving is the right thing to do.