Dealing with Toxic Team Members

In workshop discussions concerning conflict management, inevitably the subject of dealing with “toxic” individuals comes up. I maintain that if you have toxic individuals on your team, you normally don’t have a conflict problem, you have a values problem. We’ve talked about workplace culture before but, in my experience, few things destroy attempts to build a positive culture more than allowing toxic behavior to go unchecked. That old adage my…

What do you do when you fall short as a leader? (Pictograph)

I had been a commander of a flying training squadron for a few months. One Monday morning I was getting ready to go into work when the phone rang. I put the phone to my ear and heard, “Where are you?” Have you ever had one of those moments when you come to the dreadful realization that you have screwed up big time? This was one of those moments. We’ve…

Stuck in a toxic work culture? Three thoughts on what to do.

Our leadership students come from many different companies.  Most come from companies with great cultures that take an active interest in their employees and develop them into engaged individuals with a vested interest in organizational success. Others…not so much.  I’ve had a number of students who, unfortunately, worked in environments that could best be described as toxic.  These environments have cultures that foster toxic behavior; as a result, unhealthy conflict,…

That cold shoulder just might be feedback…Are you listening?

Your teenage daughter walks in to the house after school looking sullen and without her characteristic after school greeting. You ask, “How was school?”  “Fine” is the answer. But a few seconds later the slam of a bedroom door indicates to you that everything, indeed, is not fine.  The silent treatment continues into dinner despite your efforts to find out what the problem is. Thank goodness at work you get…

What does a leader do when stuck with a poor performer?

The change of command was over and as the new commander I would soon be meeting my new staff. Truth was, I had been the operations officer, the second-in-command, and knew the staff fairly well. I also knew that I was inheriting what I was certain was the worst secretary in the US Air Force.  As the new boss, by gosh, I was going to do something about that! I…