EXIT: Toxic workplace!

EXIT: Toxic workplace!

“I had to quit! The environment around me was growing toxic and suffocating. I had become less influential, my conscience was confused and I was having sleepless nights.”

These were the words of a CXO I met last week. After nearly two decades with the organization, a spate of troubling developments around her led to this fateful decision.      

So, what went wrong? How does a leader who has grown the organization from a few hundred people to over 20,000 today handle seismic shifts in her landscape? Probing further, here is what I gathered –

–         a new set of management members had settled above her, a few years ago

–         these new leaders had a far more aggressive style

–         they enforced unilateral decisions

–         previously thought employee-friendly initiatives were overturned

–         no amount of push back helped shift the ground to the previous normal.

The CXO felt very lonely, despite spending two-decades in the organization building global relationships, growing her reputation and created a world-class center of excellence for global processes moved to India and the region.

She was well known for her high integrity, empathetic nature, collaborative functioning and for creating a stable leadership team across geographies. People widely admired her leadership qualities and felt shell-shocked by her resignation a day before I met her.

When it becomes clear that the environment is toxic and dysfunctional, leaders have to take a very conscious stand on whether their integrity (and that of the organization) comes before their self-interest. Compromising on their self-respect, values, obligations, accountability and ethics will be a downhill path. 

If all diligent efforts have gone in vain, it is time to lay down your arms than fight a mammoth that won’t budge. CXOs/Leaders rather invest their leadership strengths in ventures that value these qualities than waste their prime years in stressful, mind-draining and vicious politicking. Furthermore, they should exit situations that could muddy their reputation more than be remembered for what they were always recognized for.  It’s time to Quit!

by Rajeev Raju
Leadership Coach, Start Ups Mentor, Speaker

 Rajeev Raju  

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