Is Your Team Turning Toxic?
No one likes working with toxic people. Further, bad behavior rubs off on others and they take up the mantle. Of course, the opposite is true as well - someone’s good behavior can be contagious too. The best idea is to avoid hiring these “poisonous pals.” Unfortunately, these bad boys and girls don’t have a toxic tattoo label across their forehead. They are experts at hiding their destructive behavioral tendencies from even the most competent interviewers or even when stressing certain cultural factors or settings and they can manage to keep their toxicity hidden even after being on board for a while. However, even nontoxic people can demonstrate poor behavioral choices when under stress.
No one is immune
None of the behavioral styles in the DISC assessment can escape this fact. For those unfamiliar with the DISC behavioral styles, the D is for those with dominant or assertive behavior, The I is those with influencing or people-oriented behavior, The S is for those “steady Eddies” of the world. Finally, the C represents the analytical types. Moderate stress such as everyday stress at work can unhinge the best of us and when under extreme duress and ready to pull our hair out, these behaviors can become near toxic. Here are some examples of how these otherwise calm, cool, and collected individuals can break out of their normal behavior styles.
Turning normally sane people bananas
The D becomes stressed out when not in control and if you couple that with requiring her to follow a path with strict rules, not only will she be ready to pull her hair out, she can even become hurtful maybe by pulling YOUR hair out.
The I is usually friendly and fun loving. However, when required to engage in analytical and repetitive tasks may become a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by becoming hysterical and even narcissistic if she has a high D tendency along with her high I.
The S behavioral style is steady, stable, and pleasant to deal with until you ask her to suddenly change operating procedures and if you top that without providing a reason the change is necessary, the S will morph into a passive aggressive green-eyed monster making yours and the entire team’s life miserable.
The C does not want to be the cause of emotional outburst and strives diligently not to even make errors. The things that might give a friendly fun loving I total bliss will cause the C to turn into a hostile individual who is anything but friendly and fun.
Help for toxic and near toxic behaviors
- Help can come from other coworkers and team members.
- Understanding each other’s behavioral styles can help prevent throwing team members in situations that bring about stress and turn them into weir wolves right before our eyes.
- As a manager, understand what tasks are best suited for each behavioral style. This aids in reducing the stress that causes the bad behaviors to develop and it allows for better productivity.
- As a teammate understand other’s behavior style and interact with them accordingly. For example, a high C might feel that If you ask her If she needs help with a project that you are judging her. However, if you ask that same question being sure to do so in a respectful manner, then all will be well.
- Using our ability to understand others’ behavioral and communication styles and then adapting our style to theirs can help keep everyone engaged and on their best behavior.
- Use assessments in your hiring process, for team building, and conflict resolution. Using these valuable tools in these processes can help prevent toxic behaviors and minor conflicts.
Using these ideas can help bring employees on board who better match a culture of collaboration and cooperation. The value in helping others to understand and appreciate their co-workers is priceless in terms of reducing situations that create a toxic atmosphere. Creating such a culture produces additional benefits in increasing productivity, teams that are better able to self-manage, better time management and, reducing the stress that not only causes conflict but also helps keep employees healthier thereby reducing costs.
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