News & Insights

​Our detox series looks at key challenges faced by leaders and managers.
.
04/03/16
Toxicity can exist in any part of an organisation or can be apparent throughout. Typically, it can be a matter of leadership and manifest in the 3 areas below.

1. Inadequate leadership

Leaders can be in post but absent in practical terms and so exercise no effective leadership. Alternatively, or additionally, the structure of the organisation is such that it is difficult to determine functional leads and/ or key areas of responsibility. These factors create an atmosphere of uncertainty and instability where no one is clear about accountability.

2. Lack of strategic direction

Strategic planning is ether absent or inadequate. This means strategic plans if they are in existence are rarely reviewed. The organisation is reactive and tends to plod along and then reacts to events with a sense of crisis rather than methodically planning towards goals.

3. Poor communications

Needless to say poor communication is another sign of toxicity. Information is treated as a power currency and is held in the hands of a few, not shared as appropriate or it is unclear. There can also be another syndrome of communications as camouflage where on the face of it communication is happening and seems fine – but beneath the surface, there is a complete disconnect between what is said and the actual situation. These combined with poor communications systems can have a detrimental effect on overall organisational performance.

Failing to tackle the above factors is a recipe for disaster. Typical issues include mission drift, poor performance culture, demotivated staff teams and reduced productivity all of which can impact negatively on the bottom line.

4. Focus on activity and inadequate thinking / overly thinking and inadequate activity

Activity makes things happen so naturally in order to deliver a service, concerted and planned activity is required. The problem happens when there is a planning deficit, that is planning is not given adequate time or prioritised as a business essential. In these organisations performance is rarely reviewed, evaluations do not occur and long-term thinking is absent. This can lead to stagnation or a failure to adapt services, lack of awareness of key internal or external matters and eventually a decline in performance and growth.

The converse of this is where there is a great deal of focus on planning and thinking but nothing changes as a result. This can be the worst type of analysis paralysis whereby issues are picked apart, examined and a new course of direction is set – but nothing changes as a result. No follow through is a killer of innovation and motivation.

If you would like to speak to us about any of these issues, please contact us.