Dial Down the Toxicity

I like to use analogies and metaphors in my work as an organizational coach. One of these is the concept of dials. Envision that you have both of your hands each on a dial. The left one is toxicity and the right one is learning. When I work with organizations to create happy, productive and collaborative cultures I coach them to turn the dial of toxicity down, which automatically turns the dial of learning up. Toxicity shows itself in many ways, what I also call negative team behaviors: gossip, aggression, sarcasm, avoidance, blame, etc. These behaviors (and negative attitudes) erode trust, learning and functionality of a team. When these can be seen more clearly and put out on the table, I find that every time people can work them out and move to the next level (of learning). When learning is engendered in a team or organization miracles literally happen. I will talk about how to turn down toxicity in my next post.