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    14 Leadership Resolutions to Combat Toxic Work Environments

    by Sara J. Baker, Ed.D.

    As we step into 2024, leaders face the ongoing challenge of navigating and transforming toxic work environments. The New Year offers a fresh opportunity to reinforce positive changes and protect ourselves and our teams from the detrimental effects of workplace toxicity.

    Resolution #1: Cultivate a Culture of Open Communication

    Encourage open and honest dialogue within your team. Create safe spaces where employees feel comfortable sharing their concerns and ideas.

    This transparency not only helps in identifying toxic elements early but also fosters trust and collaboration. Regular check-ins with your team and implementing feedback mechanisms can also help in identifying potential issues before they escalate.

    Women and a man sitting around in a work setting communicating

    Resolution #2: Prioritize Mental Health and Well-being

    Acknowledge the impact of a toxic work environment on mental health. Implement policies and practices that promote well-being, such as flexible work hours, mental health days, and access to counseling services.

    As a leader, lead by example by taking care of your own mental health. Encourage employees to prioritize self-care and create a work culture that values mental health.

    Resolution #3: Address Toxic Behavior Immediately

    Toxic behavior can quickly spread if left unchecked. As a leader, it is your responsibility to address toxic behavior immediately and take appropriate actions.

    This could include having difficult conversations, providing resources for training and development, or even letting go of toxic employees. Ignoring or tolerating toxic behavior only perpetuates a harmful work environment and affects the productivity and well-being of your team.

    Resolution #4: Develop and Enforce Clear Boundaries

    Set clear boundaries to prevent toxicity from seeping into your team’s culture. This includes setting limits on work hours, ensuring respectful communication, and addressing any form of bullying or harassment immediately.

    By enforcing boundaries, you create a standard of behavior that promotes a healthy work environment for everyone.

    Resolution #5: Provide Opportunities for Growth and Development

    Toxic work environments often stem from employees feeling unfulfilled and undervalued. As a leader, provide opportunities for your team to grow and develop within their roles.

    This could include offering training programs, mentorship opportunities, or cross-functional projects. When employees feel valued and have a sense of purpose at work, they are less likely to engage in toxic behavior.

    Resolution #6: Empower and Support Your Team

    Empower your team members by providing them with the resources and support they need to succeed. Encourage their growth and development, and stand up for them in challenging situations.

    A supported team is more resilient to toxic influences. By fostering a sense of community and teamwork, you create a positive work environment that promotes collaboration and productivity.

    Resolution #7: Stay Informed and Proactive

    Stay informed about the signs of a toxic workplace and be proactive in addressing them. This could involve regular team check-ins, anonymous feedback mechanisms, and staying updated with the latest in leadership and organizational health trends.

    As a leader, it is your responsibility to constantly assess and improve the work environment for the well-being of your team.

    Resolution #8: Embrace and Model Positive Leadership

    Model the behavior you wish to see in your organization. Positivity, empathy, and resilience in leadership can significantly counteract the effects of a toxic work environment.

    Your attitude and actions set the tone for the entire team. By leading with positivity and focusing on solutions rather than problems, you can create a work culture that promotes well-being and success.

    Resolution #9: Celebrate Success and Acknowledge Efforts

    Regularly acknowledge and celebrate the successes and efforts of your team. Recognition goes a long way in boosting morale and creating a positive work environment.

    Take the time to thank your team for their hard work and recognize individual contributions. This not only promotes a culture of positivity but also helps in building a strong and motivated team.

    Resolution #10: Advocate for Organizational Change

    If toxicity stems from higher organizational levels, don’t hesitate to advocate for change. This might involve discussions with higher management, proposing new policies, or even seeking external help.

    By standing up for your team and promoting a healthy work environment, you set the foundation for long-term success and well-being.

    Resolution #11: Invest in Personal and Professional Development

    Continuously develop your skills in leadership and change management. Staying equipped and knowledgeable empowers you to better protect yourself and your team from toxicity.

    Attend workshops, take online leadership courses, read books and articles, and seek mentorship to enhance your leadership skills and deepen your understanding of workplace dynamics. By investing in yourself, you can become a more effective leader in creating a positive work environment for your team.

    Resolution #12: Lead with Empathy

    Empathy is crucial in addressing toxicity within the workplace. Take the time to listen and understand your team members’ perspectives and experiences.

    This will not only help in identifying any underlying issues but also foster a sense of trust and understanding within the team. By leading with empathy, you create a culture of compassion and support that promotes well-being in the workplace.

    Resolution #13: Foster a Team Environment of Mutual Respect

    Cultivate a team environment where mutual respect is the norm. Encourage team members to support each other and speak up against any form of disrespect or toxicity.

    By promoting a culture of mutual respect, you create an inclusive and safe workplace for everyone. This also helps in building strong relationships within the team, leading to improved collaboration and productivity.

    Resolution #14: Give Yourself Grace

    As a leader, it’s essential to remember that while you bear a significant responsibility, you are not omnipotent. Perfection is an unrealistic goal, and striving for it can lead to undue stress and burnout. Your role is to support your team and implement positive changes, but you cannot control every outcome or resolve every issue perfectly.

    Giving yourself grace means recognizing your efforts, acknowledging your limitations, and forgiving yourself when things don’t go as planned. It’s about understanding that success isn’t a straight line, and there will be bumps and detours along the way.

    By practicing self-compassion, you not only maintain your own emotional well-being but also create an environment where your team feels comfortable to learn, grow, and make mistakes.

    Paving the Way Towards a Toxic-Free Workplace

    As we embrace 2024, let’s commit to these resolutions to create healthier, more productive, and less toxic work environments. Remember, change starts with us, and as leaders, we have the power to drive this change.

    Here’s to a brighter, more positive and successful workplace for all! Let’s work together to pave the way towards a toxic-free workplace. Cheers!

    Dr. Sara Baker, Founder of the Leadership Reformation

    About the Author

    Dr. Sara Baker is an advocate for positive leadership and healthy workplaces. With over 20 years of experience leading private and public organizations, she understands the challenges that employees and leaders face every day.

    Sara is the author of Toxic Workplace Survival Guide, an essential resource for anyone who wants to thrive in spite of a toxic work environment. In addition to her writing, Sara provides online courses for leadership development and coping with a toxic workplace.

    Dr. Sara Baker, Founder of the Leadership Reformation

    About the Author

    Dr. Sara Baker is an advocate for positive leadership and healthy workplaces. With over 20 years of experience leading private and public organizations, she understands the challenges that employees and leaders face every day.

    Sara is the author of Toxic Workplace Survival Guide, an essential resource for anyone who wants to thrive in spite of a toxic work environment. In addition to her writing, Sara provides online courses for leadership development and coping with a toxic workplace.

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