The word ‘toxic’ in relationships is often described as very ‘harmful or unpleasant in a pervasive or insidious way’.

In her latest Dare to Lead podcast, Dr Brené Brown and her sister Barrett talk about why every leader needs to worry about the harm caused be a Toxic Culture.

The discussion in this podcast came off the back of another podcast where she spoke to Dr Donald and Charlie Sull who have recently done some amazing research into why people are leaving their organisations in droves at the moment.

It turns out a Toxic Culture is the #1 predictor of why people will walk; and the behaviours that they name that drive their feelings of ‘enough is enough’ are a lack of respect, a lack of inclusivity, dishonest and unethical behaviours, cut-throat behaviour and abusive managers.

It always comes back to this important emotional intelligence concept that Emotions Drive People.

It’s interesting to hear Brené tell the story about a time when she asked a group of senior leaders to talk about a failure they’d experienced.

And the long silence that followed. (And she’s not afraid of silence!)

Until one man spoke up and she says you could feel the ‘cringe’ as others listened to his vulnerability with disbelief!

And how that was the exact moment she knew this man was going to be the leader this group needed to take this organisation forward.

It takes courage to speak up, to surface the unsurfaced, to make sure we’re solving the right problem and dealing with challenges as they emerge. The world has become increasingly BANI (brittle, anxious, non-linear and incomprehensible), and growing the skills to have tough conversations is increasingly important.

To detect toxicity in all its many forms early on and deal with it, honestly, clearly and kindly. To hold ourselves and others accountable with clear boundaries, integrity and generosity.

To drop our ego and layers of self- protection, and finally realise that as a leader our job is to ‘GET it right, and not BE right’!

Cheers Alison

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