It’s not news that the world is currently experiencing a tight labour market and toxicity has been highlighted as a major cause of the “Great Resignation”. Jesunifemi Ogundipe, Wellness Consultant at Blue Corridor Consulting Limited, explains personalities as a major factor for toxicity in the workplace.
Companies are now in need of fresh ideas on how to attract new prospects and retain existing employees, and part of this comes down to understanding employees and reducing toxicity.
CultureX categorises a toxic work culture according to five major behaviours: disrespectful, non-inclusive, unethical, cutthroat, abusive. A typical toxic work environment will be a place where constructive criticism is not encouraged, poor performance attracts a direct attack on the personality of the employee rather than the job done, people are not free to express themselves, micromanagement flourishes, there’s no room to take initiative, where passive aggressive behaviour is the name of the game … the list goes on.
Refusing to acknowledge differing personalities is a major driver of toxicity in the workplace.Employers are like parents, and any good parent understands that every child is different. Relating to all your children in the same way, without acknowledging their relevant personality differences, will lead to a parenting disaster. In the same vein, employees all have different personalities and this affects their workplace performance. A failure to acknowledge this will breed atoxic work culture.
Emotional intelligence is non-negotiable in this age, especially with the rise of Gen Zs who prioritise their mental health over paychecks, and the linear straitjacket approach that many managers adopt may not be the most effective.
As a manager, working with employees without regard for their uniqueness eventually backfires. For instance, an employee with a diagnosis of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) may be unnecessarily jumpy or quick to miss details. That does not make them a bad employee; they just need a little more supervision than a melancholic Jane who is well put together and more meticulous. An INFJ (Advocate) personality type values cooperation and sensitivity, and as employees they gravitate toward managers who are open-minded and willing to consider their input, and they may become frustrated when they feel unheard.
To promote a collectively healthy work culture, individualism must get the attention it deserves. The more you get to know your employees, the better you’ll understand why they do what they do the way they do it, and the better you can manage them.
A person’s stability is deeply tied to their emotions, and individual stability leads to corporate stability. One of my clients recently told me, “I wish I’d met you earlier, then I’d not have lost Jayden. He’s still the best employee I’ve ever had.” Jayden was a brilliant software programmer who worked at my client’s company. He was dealing with anxiety and depression while still trying to pull his weight at work, but no one knew. Eventually, he had a critical mental meltdown and resigned.
It’s sad that we have a KYC (Know Your Customers) system in the corporate world but no KYE (Know Your Employees) system.
To offer a solution, I came up with a KYE Kit, which encompasses a set of emotional intelligence techniques that should be prioritised in every organisation to get the best of every individual and increase productivity in the workplace.
These techniques can be customised, but will generally include the following:
Conduct apersonality test for each employee as part of their onboarding program and file a record of the results with HR;
Discuss the outcome of this exercise during management meetings to better understand the uniqueness and positioning of each employee;
Consider employing an in-house peak performance coach to unleash employees’ potential and optimise their performance;
Organise regular emotional intelligence training sessions;
Lead with empathy;
Understand your employees’ recognition languages and speak them fluently.
Adopting the KYE kit methodology may seem like a lot of work that will dig into your budget, but it will pay off long term as you’ll earn the loyalty of employees because they feel like you have their back, and you’ll increase productivity and the overall success of your firm.
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