Select Page

Toxic office politics is alive and well. I watched two mini-series, The Drop Out and Super Pumped. Both series illustrate how much power leaders have on an organization’s modus operandi. I couldn’t imagine working in such an environment, where those who spoke up were shouted down, exiled from the company, or fired. but they do exist. I asked myself, what is the most effective way to operate under that type of leadership that created and maintained such an environment? My answer is, do not accept a job offer from them. It is always a good practice to research organizations before onboarding.

Nevertheless, you could find yourself in an organization with a lesser degree of toxic office politics. Suboptimal behaviors may not show up right away, but when they do you’ll have to determine a course of action. You’ll have to make a choice like the one suggested by Kenny Rogers in his, hit song, “The Gambler.” Here are some of the lyrics, “You’ve got to know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em, know when to walk away, know when to run.” Your career could depend on it.

Self-awareness is the key. Knowing who you are will guide your decision-making process. Knowing what you are not will reveal your integrity. Putting this knowledge into practice is much easier said than done. Note: This knowledge comes through self-examination, which is difficult, but it is necessary to determine where you stand and how you will move forward.

No one wants to be mistreated. Unfortunately, bad things happen to good people. Such things can happen frequently in a toxic work or social environment. These experiences could cause good people to become jaded. As much as we’d like to, we cannot control the words and actions of others. The only things we can control are our attitudes and efforts.

I found that good people in bad organizations do not let the environment change them. When others act inappropriately, they don’t lower their personal or professional standards. They remain focused on their goals. No matter the circumstance, they are prepared, organized, and observant. To make a long story short, they make the best of tough situations. They are easy to spot in other organizations because they stand out. Always looking for talent, I was fortunate enough to hire a few of these people from toxic organizations. True to character, they never bashed their previous employer. They demonstrated control of their attitudes and efforts. This quote by Carl Jung applies to them, “I am not what happened to me. I am what I choose to become.” Being positive pays

Feel free to share examples of how you have handled toxic work or social situations. To learn more about my coaching practice visit