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The courses at the Leadership Reformation are game-changers. They're not only informative but also incredibly engaging. I've applied the lessons learned to my daily work, and the results are evident in my team's increased productivity and collaboration.

Casey R., Operations Supervisor

Dr. Baker's on-demand video courses are a standout experience. Despite the online format, her authenticity and warmth shine through every lesson. It's rare to find an online course where you truly feel the instructor's presence and genuine care. Dr. Baker's positive and encouraging approach made me feel as though she was right there with me.

Alex J., Health Services Manager

My first two courses with Sara have been a transformative experience. Her engaging teaching style and the practical insights shared have not only been enlightening but also empowering. I feel a lot more confident and can approach my leadership role with enthusiasm, leaving behind any feelings of intimidation. I'm genuinely excited about the journey ahead as a leader, thanks to these courses.

Taylor M, Marketing Team Lead

I was thoroughly impressed with Dr. Baker's deep understanding and knowledge of the course material. Her feedback was insightful and conveyed a genuine sense of care and dedication to my learning. It's evident that she puts her heart into her teaching, making the learning experience both enriching and personally meaningful.

Jamie C, Customer Success Manager

Attending Dr. Baker's leadership workshop was an enlightening experience. The interactive sessions and real-world scenarios provided me with valuable tools that I've since implemented successfully in my role as a manager.

Samantha, Project Coordinator

I've been a regular reader of The Leadership Reformation blog, and it's been instrumental in my professional growth. The insights and tips Sara shares are not only thought-provoking but immediately applicable.

Jordan M, Program Director

Toxic Workplace Checklist for Leaders: 14 Toxic Workplace Hacks
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    Toxic Workplace Checklist for Leaders: 14 Toxic Workplace Hacks

    by Sara J. Baker, Ed.D.

    Working within a toxic workplace can feel like being stuck in quicksand – the negativity pulls you in, and before you know it, you’re mirroring the adverse behaviors so prevalent around you. Our handy toxic workplace checklist will help you identify if you’ve unconsciously adopted any of these toxic traits. Remember, it’s always the right time to change for the better.

    Being the beacon of positivity in a sea of negativity can be incredibly difficult.

    Answer the questions below for insight into potential toxic beliefs or behaviors you may be unintentionally exhibiting and for ideas on how to start shedding your toxic beliefs or actions that will negatively affect your team.

    Leaders Create Toxic Workplaces

    Toxicity in a workplace culture doesn’t materialize out of thin air. It festers and grows in an environment where negativity and discourtesy are the norms.

    In short, toxic workplaces with toxic cultures are created by toxic leaders.

    Even if the workplace bully is a fellow employee, leadership is responsible for:

    • requiring the employee to correct his/her behavior (overcoming the toxin) or
    • they are responsible for removing them from the workplace (flushing the toxin out).

    Leaders who turn a blind eye to toxic behaviors, despite possessing the power to eradicate them, are as liable as the toxic individuals creating an ambiance of hostility.

    Passive leaders who don’t partake in toxic behaviors but allow their team members to engage in them ARE contributing to the issue.

    Everyone deserves respect. Harsh words and actions should never have a place in the workplace. Campaigns like #KindnessMatters and #StopBullying aren’t merely trending hashtags; they represent the rising demand for a respectful work culture.

    Leadership is the antidote or the poison. Toxic leaders can infiltrate an organization at all managerial levels, from the grass-roots to the executive suite. Regardless of their position, their toxicity seeps into every corner of the organization, affecting everyone within.

    Toxic Workplace Checklist for Leaders: 14 Toxic Workplace Hacks

    Embarking on a journey of self-improvement begins with introspection. This Toxic Workplace Checklist is specifically designed for leaders who are ready to challenge themselves, recognize harmful patterns, and initiate positive change. Check out the questions below and see what you discover about your leadership style.

    1. Do you use meeting times primarily to provide updates to your team?

    If email is a more efficient way to notify your team of updates, then don’t waste their time with a meeting. Instead, use meetings to communicate essential information that cannot be sent out via email AND to answer burning questions from team members and solve problems as needed. Meetings are valuable resources and should be used wisely.

    2. Do you encourage open communication and feedback from your team?

    Listening to and implementing feedback can help foster a positive and collaborative work environment while ignoring or dismissing it can create an atmosphere of fear and resentment. Encourage your team to share their thoughts and ideas and make sure they feel heard.

    3.  Do you shut down ideas from your team?

    Encourage your team members to share ideas with you and others. Create a positive, open environment where ideas are respected for their value and not for the position of the person who shares them. Be open to suggestions and implement new ideas when appropriate to show that you value your team’s contributions.

    4. Do you make decisions without considering team input?

    Involve your team in decision-making processes whenever possible. This will not only show that you value their opinions, but it can also lead to more informed and effective decisions. Be open to others’ perspectives and consider all options before making a final decision.

    5. Do you micromanage your team?

    Trust and empower your team members to do their jobs effectively without constantly checking in or controlling every aspect of their work. Give them the autonomy they need to succeed, while still providing support and guidance when needed.

    6. Do you take credit for your team’s successes?

    As a leader, it is important to recognize and celebrate your team’s achievements instead of taking all the credit for yourself. Acknowledge their hard work and give credit where credit is due. This will boost morale and show that you appreciate your team’s efforts.

    7. Do you blame others when things go wrong?

    Take ownership of mistakes and encourage your team to do the same. Work together to find solutions instead of pointing fingers or placing blame. This will create a more positive and collaborative work environment.

    8. Do you gossip or speak negatively about others?

    Engaging in negative talk about others can quickly turn toxic, even if it may seem harmless at the time. Be mindful of your words and actions, and refrain from participating in gossip or speaking negatively about others.

    9. Do you show favoritism towards certain team members?

    Treat all team members fairly and equally, regardless of personal relationships or biases. This will help create a level playing field and prevent feelings of resentment within the team.

    10. Do you set unrealistic expectations for your team?

    Setting unrealistic expectations can lead to burnout and dissatisfaction within your team. Set realistic and achievable goals that challenge your team without overwhelming them. This will help foster a healthy work-life balance and prevent feelings of failure or disappointment.

    11. Do you ignore signs of workplace stress or burnout?

    Pay attention to your team’s well-being and address any signs of workplace stress or burnout. This can include increased absenteeism, decreased productivity, or changes in behavior. Take the time to check in with your team and offer support where needed.

    12. Do you avoid conflict instead of addressing it?

    Avoiding conflict may seem easier in the moment, but it can lead to bigger issues down the line. Address conflicts as they arise in a calm and professional manner, and work towards finding a resolution that benefits all parties involved.

    13. Do you make decisions based on personal feelings or biases?

    As a leader, it is important to make decisions objectively and without personal bias. Be mindful of your own biases and try to make decisions based on facts and logical reasoning.

    14. Do you foster a culture of competition instead of collaboration?

    Competition can be healthy in small doses, but fostering a constant competitive environment can lead to toxicity within the team. Encourage collaboration and teamwork instead of pitting team members against each other. This will help create a more positive and supportive work environment.

    Your Impact as a Leader

    To continue to grow and develop as a leader, you should regularly reflect on your actions and behavior to ensure that you are not contributing to a toxic workplace culture. These 14 hacks can serve as a helpful checklist in identifying any areas for improvement and taking steps toward creating a healthier and more positive work environment for yourself and your team. Remember, the tone of the workplace starts with you as a leader, so make sure to lead by example and strive for continual growth and improvement.

    There is always room to become a better leader and create a more positive work environment for your team, so don’t be afraid to assess yourself and make changes where needed. Your team will thank you for it.

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    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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