Transforming Toxic Work Cultures: The Role of Conscious Leadership in Promoting Wellbeing
Work culture significantly impacts employee wellbeing. According to research from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a toxic work culture is one of the predictors of employee turnover in light of the Great Resignation in the US. Although most of the discussion on the mass resignation in 2021 to 2022 focuses on dissatisfaction with wages, corporate culture also plays a huge role. Data from Revelio Labs gathered in 2021 reveals that toxic work culture was 10.4 times more likely to impact employee turnover. Furthermore, employees consider corporate culture more important than compensation.
With this in mind, toxic work cultures are the bane of the modern work environment. Employees who feel excluded, disengaged, or not valued are more likely to leave the company they’re working for, regardless of their compensation status. Even if employees don’t quit their jobs, it can negatively impact their well-being and overall productivity.
Leaders must take a conscious approach to ensure that they end toxic work cultures before affecting employee engagement.
But first, it’s crucial to understand how conscious leadership feeds into this.
Defining Conscious Leadership
Conscious leadership emphasizes the value of mindfulness and awareness in leading a team. Conscious leaders strive to create a work environment based on trust, empathy, and respect. They are also aware of their own biases, motivations, and emotions. These leaders don’t look at employees as mere pieces of the puzzle. Instead, they are considered to be valuable contributors to the organization, utilizing their talents and skills.
It’s a departure from the traditional hierarchical method of leadership. Instead, conscious leadership empowers employees instead of dictating orders. In addition, a culture of collaboration, transparency, and openness is prioritized.
These qualities of an effective conscious leader are critical in transforming toxic work cultures into positive ones. Therefore, it is a great approach when dealing with a toxic work environment and if you want to boost employee engagement.
How Do Toxic Work Cultures Impact Employee Well-Being?
A toxic work culture can directly impact employee well-being in the following ways:
- Toxic work cultures cause high stress levels in employees, especially when they feel excluded or lack support from the leadership.
- In a toxic work environment, employees are more likely to develop stress, anxiety, and depression.
- Stress from toxic work environments can manifest physically through headaches and sleep disturbances.
- Employees in a toxic work culture suffer from job dissatisfaction. Meanwhile, companies with a toxic work environment experience high employee turnover.
4 Ways Conscious Leadership Combat Toxic Work Cultures
Considering the negative impacts of toxic work culture, conscious leaders must step up to make the necessary changes. Here are some strategies to combat toxic work cultures through the right leadership approach.
1. Take Accountability
Work culture starts from leadership. So when you have a toxic work culture, you must reflect on your leadership style.
Does your own behavior contribute to the toxicity? If yes, pinpoint the specific behaviors you should address to improve the culture. For example, look closely at how you handle conflicts, treat your employees, and your day-to-day work responsibilities.
Once you identify your leadership shortcomings, you can take the necessary steps to address them and improve your work culture.
2. Lead by Example
After reflecting on your behavior, it’s time to put things into action. Focus on demonstrating the behaviors that you want to see in your employees. Set a good example for them by being the role model they seek.
Promoting a culture of trust and collaboration among your employees can promote well-being. It also makes employees feel more engaged and satisfied. Always lead with integrity to inspire and motivate others to do the same.
3. Promote Transparency
Involve your employees in the decision-making process and forming policies in your organization. You need to get input from your employees since these policies directly impact them. Therefore, it’s the best way to protect and preserve their well-being so they can be productive team members.
Asking for their input and maintaining transparency also makes your employees feel valued. It shows your commitment to honor their needs.
4. Prioritize Employee Well-Being
There is no other way around it: make employee well-being your main priority when building a company culture. You can prevent toxic work cultures by putting your employee’s health and safety first.
Promote a healthy work culture by giving your employees flexible work arrangements. For example, you can allow employees to work hybrid, such as some days in the office and some at home, depending on what makes them feel most productive. As a result, it’s healthier for employees mentally and physically while enabling them to achieve a work-life balance.
Transforming a toxic work culture is no easy feat. But conscious leadership is a powerful tool to promote positive organizational change. Starting with leadership changes can certainly lead to better and lasting outcomes in the long run.