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Glengarry Glenwrong; The end of Toxic Leadership

Although Alec Baldwin’s character in Glengarry GlenRoss made for great cinema, working for Mitch and Murray is what today’s workplace nightmares are made of…..and, I would imagine, many of you out there over the age of 30 have lived the scenario, in one form or another, during the course of your careers.


With today’s competitive market place, combined with the personal needs of millennials and remote workers, treating employees like chattel is no longer accepted in the today's workplace, if a company plans on retaining talent or sustaining growth.  Innovative companies like Google or South West Airlines have invested heavily in their culture by providing day care, dry-cleaning, gyms and flexible hours to their employees with measurable success.

Yet, perks will only carry a corporate culture so far.  Driven by emotion, human beings are social animals with an innate desire to belong.  This basic need is no less relevant in a corporate setting.  If employees are to perform at their best in the modern workplace, a sense of trust and caring is now a prerequisite for accepting employment.  Otherwise, they will just end up adding to the 75% of the existing workforce that are disengaged and toiling in positions that end up replacing careers with a weekly paycheck.


Given the rise of companies like Glassdoor that expose toxic work place environments for what they are, effective human resource departments no longer focus solely on salaries, compensation plans and vacation days but, instead, are now wisely catering to the basic human needs and happiness of their employees like never before. 

Is it really that difficult for management to care about or be kind to their employees, when so much is at stake?  Recent studies have shown that the costs associated with replacing the rank and file employee is significant and the price paid for losing a long-term employee with institutional knowledge is even steeper.

Yearly surveys and consulting engagements have been the norm for the last 20 years but, at the end-of-the-day, they are usually gamed by an already disinterested staff and, unfortunately, with the pace with which knowledge and information moves today, they are too far behind to be effective or show redeemable value.  Essentially, they have become a very expensive check box.

Companies that are looking for an edge need to have the finger on the pulse of their corporate cultures on a daily basis in order to determine what managers are truly effective leaders and, which ones are not, if they truly have an interest in gaining a competitive advantage.  And, once these leaders have been identified, provide the facilities to share their winning methodologies with the rest of the company as success always breeds success.

Corporate leaders today are finding that culture is as equally important as revenue, since the decline in one will certainly lead to the decline of the other.   


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