Thursday, February 16, 2012

Toxic Communication in Today's Workforce

A couple of weeks ago I spoke at the HRPA conference here in Toronto on Toxic Communication and how it impacts performance. This seems to be a topic very prevalent in so many work places these days.

Toxic communication patterns can run the range of the gossip at the watercooler, to the rolling of eyes during presentations, the "here we go again", the subtle (or not) ignoring during meetings by leaving or disconnecting on a blackberry, or the more obvious name-calling or berating.

Toxic behavior is normal - what is not is when it goes to the extreme. My team coaching partner Sharon Miller and I typically use the following definition for toxic behavior -

A Toxic Relationship is a relationship characterized by behaviors on the part of the toxic partner that are emotionally and, not infrequently, physically damaging to their partner.

The cost of toxicity in today's workplace is huge. A study by Porath and Pearson (2009) found the following impact on employees:
  • 48% decreased their work effort
  • 47% decreased time at work
  • 38% decreased work quality
  • 68% said their performance declined
  • 80% said they lost time worrying about it
  • 63% lost time avoiding the person
  • 78% said their commitment to the organization declined

Consider the following:

What toxic communication patterns are present in your organization? Within your team?

What is the cost of this?

What is needed to address/change the communication patterns?

Warm regards


Jennifer Britton, MES, CPT, PCC

Author of Effective Group Coaching (Wiley, 2010)

Potentials Realized

Team Coaching, Facilitation and Training

Phone: (416)996-8326

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Questions for Building Stronger Work Partnerships

In the spirit of Valentine's Day, today's post deals with business relationships. Strong business relationships are critical for success across all industries today. A few years ago when I was writing Effective Group Coaching, I was asked about how to make co-facilitation of programs really work. It led me to write an accompanying digital chapter for the book. Whether you are co-leading, co-facilitating or working collaboratively, here are some questions to consider and discuss together:

1. What are the unique strengths we each bring? How do these overlap/intersect?
2. How do our skill sets and strengths compliment each other?
3. How do our skill sets and strengths create a blindspot? (note a blindspot is an area which you may not be aware of, or has an absence)
4. How do we individually and collectively define success for this work?
5. What does "quality" and "success" look like? (Be specific)
6. What is/are the priorities - individually and collectively?
7. What can we each be counted on for, no matter what?
8. If things go off the rails, what will you commit to doing?
9. What support and feedback does your partner require?
10. What support and feedback do you both need from the people/project you support?
11. What will you do to celebrate your successes along the way?

Have a terrific week!


Jennifer Britton, MES, CPT, PCC
Author of Effective Group Coaching (Wiley, 2010)
Potentials Realized
Coaching, Facilitation and Training Services
Email: info{at}potentialsrealized{dot}com
Phone: (416) 996-TEAM (8326)