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No room for toxicity


FAYE A. WOOD

No room for toxicity

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AFTER READING THE ARTICLE Tudor: Bring The Ideas on Page 27 of the last WEEKEND NATION, I thought to myself, here we go again as the National Initiative for Service Excellence (NISE) gets ready to roll out a suite of indices later this year.

It wants big businesses to get on the innovation bandwagon, chief executive officer Kim Tudor told the paper after addressing the opening of a workshop entitled Preventing A Toxic Workplace.

I was not involved in the workshop or do I know the extent of the presentation, but what it leaves me to wonder from the content of what was discussed as published, was civility in the workplace addressed during this presentation?

I am just as enthusiastic as Ms Tudor and her team to see an innovative private and public sector, one which is engaged as we seek to transition “from a goods and services Stage 2 economy to an innovation economy Stage 3 – the highest level of economy”. But are we ready? Have we addressed the importance of workplace civility? 

From my experience and drawing on the experience of others, I indeed think not. Many persons I come across every day are very frustrated with the lack of civility today in some organisations in Barbados, and I ask this question: who is going to bell the cat?

Unfortunately, toxic work environments seem to be very rampant in Barbados and many assume this toxicity is just the way it is and accept there is nothing we can do about it. We have either been victims or have engaged in some aspect of uncivilised behaviour. 

Gossip, disrespect, poor communication, maligning of character and cultural insensitivity – these are just a few examples of this dysfunctional behaviour. However, we need to see the correlation in workplace civility and productivity. This should be seen as important as ever because of the implications of the Employment Rights Act and other aspects of legislation as it relates to fundamental human rights and dignity.

Having a civil work environment would result in employees doing their best work (innovate and create), which ultimately means businesses are able to thrive. We the employees and employers need to recognise that incivility in the workplace impacts on productivity and commitment to the organisation.

It only takes the negativity of a few employees to change an organisation’s culture from productive to toxic. Experience has shown it is quite easy to become an unproductive and destructive worker.

I take this opportunity to encourage employers and employees to do some introspection and realise that there is no place in our work environment for toxicity or workplace bullies. We must be mindful and respectful of others and as we move forward, try to practise tolerance and kindness. As quoted by Mary Wortley Montagu, “civility costs nothing and buys everything”. 

– FAYE A. WOOD

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