How to Deal with Workplace Toxicity, Part 4May 31, 2022
Hello! I’m Lori West, founder of Business Brilliance, and I show high performers like you how to harness the power of the mind to convert performance plateaus into performance peaks.
We’ve been talking trash, so let’s clean this stuff up once and for all.
OK, here’s my perspective on workplace toxicity, in particular its source.
This is something that hardly anyone talks about, but it’s the very thing as a psychotherapist and coach my clients discover when they work with me.
Your workplace issues, in most cases, have very little to do with the workplace itself.
I know. That may be really hard to hear.
Just bear with me for a moment.
Remember we discussed the issue of projection.
Casting your mind back, you may recall that projection is a psychological defence that causes you to attribute qualities you wish to disown in yourself onto another person or group of people.
Toxicity is one of them.
I trust you’ve seen in last week’s video that you create toxicity just like everyone else, especially if you participate in something as seemingly innocuous as gossip, which I’m sure you’re discovering now is not.
I’m going to say something even more radical.
Everything you experience in the workplace is a product of your perception.
Yes, everything you experience in life, including the workplace, is a product of your perception.
How can that be?
Look, your worldview was, in the main, formed by the age of 17 or 18.
Of course you have new experiences that expand your perception of life, and if you’re not having those kinds of experiences, I encourage you to go out and find them and have them!
But your basic worldview, including all of your beliefs, attitudes and perception has been established since the age of 18.
It’s through these lenses that you view the world.
Now when something challenges that view, rarely do you stop to ask yourself if there’s a way you can expand your own perspective to take in new information and see things differently.
Unless, of course, you’ve had valuable, extended experience of being coached to challenge your own world view and you understand the benefits of that.
Usually, you create assumptions, justifications and judgements to enable that experience to fit in with your worldview, and if you can’t you’ll just flat out reject it.
Here’s the thing. Your entire worldview is a projection.
A projection of your own thoughts, attitudes and perspectives.
While there’s nothing wrong with that, consider that yours may be — and often are — radically different from those of another person.
What makes yours right and theirs wrong?
A magazine that tells you you’re right and they’re wrong?
Actually, nothing makes yours right and theirs wrong. Neither of you are right or wrong. You’re just different.
So, what’s the problem?
Problems arise when you become attached to your worldview as being the right one and the only one, and you make other people wrong for theirs.
And you start to try to influence their behaviour to align with yours.
This is often the situation that kicks off the toxic habit of gossip.
Imagine you are walking out of the building and towards public transport or the car park with a trusted colleague.
You proceed to launch into a tirade of complaints about a particular person.
You feel completely justified to do so. It’s he or she over there that’s toxic, you say.
So let me ask you a few questions.
- Who is experiencing the difficult feelings?
- Who is having the unkind thoughts?
- Who is diminishing the other person with words behind their back?
- Who is spreading the poison?
If you’re participating in gossip, you are.
I know this happens because I hear it all the time — in bars and restaurants, on the street, in conversations with friends.
I’ve been guilty of it myself, too.
And I want you to notice something. When you point your index finger at something or someone, what do you see?
A hand with three fingers pointing back at you.
This should give you a good indication of where responsibility lies — over with you.
Now, if you work in a culture where gossip is the norm, it may seem hopeless, but actually, it isn’t.
Small daily actions of taking responsibility for your own toxicity can make a huge difference!
Modelling other ways of thinking, feeling, responding and behaving can encourage other people to follow suit.
If you have any inclination to be a leader, I would argue that this is what real leadership is all about. It’s about turning the blame game around.
It’s about encouraging yourself and others to take responsibility for your own trash and to clean it up.
It’s about showing and demonstrating rather than telling.
It’s about being committed to creating a clean, clear workplace environment.
And it starts with you bringing mindfulness to your own toxic thoughts, feelings and behaviours.
It may not seem immediately obvious as to how you do it. That’s why I’m here!
What I can’t do in a video like this is address your specific issues. What I can do is offer my professional assistance.
If you’re struggling with this issue, schedule a discovery call and I’ll show you how I can help you clean up your workplace attitude.
Register above to receive my handy template for creating mental space in your working day, called A Boost of Brilliance.
It’s a workplace self-assessment tool designed to bring space and peace to your life.
But consider you can use it as a tool to clean up your toxicity on a daily basis. There’s an aspect of it that makes that possible, and that creates a lot of power for you.
When you register, you’ll also receive my newsletter, in which I’ll be sharing new tips for improving workplace performance in a mindful, fulfilling, empowered and clean way.
And register onto one of my courses, where I teach you how to use the breath to create a strong mind/body connection and learn the art of self-reflection, which is critical to cleaning up toxicity.
You take your experience of mindfulness to a whole new level. And, you clean up yourself and your environment in the process.
In the meantime, stop littering your workplace environment with trash.
Start picking it up and putting it in the bin.
How about stop creating it in the first place!
You’ll clean up your environment in no time.
I look forward to seeing you in a future video series.
Until then… be brilliant!
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