The antidote to toxicity in teams January 26, 2016 – Posted in: Confidence, Leaders and Teams

As part of my job I get asked by organisations to help their teams work better together. These forward-thinking companies have realised that happy staff make more productive staff, and so they know that productivity will be down if the team isn’t gelling.

And many, many teams are simply not gelling! Just like many of our closest domestic relationships might not be gelling…


Mostly because of resentment and fear. People get cross about such-and-such that happened months ago but are often so afraid of the repercussions if they say they’re cross that they nurture a resentment instead.

To resent means to re-feel. So these people are re-feeling old hurts every day and the results are seriously toxic for the working environment. Because resentment leaks out of a person and bad feeling is catching.

Time off, stubbornness, point scoring and performing below potential are just some of the many repercussions of this fear and resentment. Stress, anxiety, high staff turn over, deadlines missed and over-burdened middle-managers are other by-products of unhappy teams.

So, what’s the solution?

The beginning of the answer lies in allowing people time and space to air their ‘issues’ in a safe and respectful group space. As a facilitator it’s my job to create this space and encourage people to be honest.

And when one person drops their fear, steps over their resentment and speaks their truth other people in the team start to do the same. And then the toxicity is neutralised because honesty is the antidote is the toxicity. It’s often that simple!

It’s absolutely thrilling work and the results can be groundbreaking.

So, if you’re struggling with a resentment then think of how you might find a way to be honest about it in order to neutralise its poison in your life.

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