Coaching feedback reveals that leaders and their teams are under increasing stress because of organisational toxicity, increased role complexity and a pervasive assault on personal ethics and values.
Organisational toxicity is not a new phenomenon. However, its impact on organisational effectiveness is increasing as people’s roles in organisations become more complex and the demand for influential leadership rises.
Interesting articles on the subject by Theo H Veldsman include:
- http://humancapitalreview.org/the-Growing-Cancer-Endangering-Organisations: Toxicity
The toxicity that emerge during coaching manifests as sexism, racism, ageism, patriarchy, hierarchy, bullying, intimidation, aggression, disrespect and alienation.
Coachees experience this:
- As their assertiveness and confidence undermined
- As fear of overbearing or aggressive colleagues and superiors
- In avoiding difficult conversations
- Through feeling invisible and unheard in the workplace
Coachees report this assault on their self-worth often being covert, couched in humour, and disguised as light hearted banter, which makes it particularly difficult to deal with.
INCREASED ROLE COMPLEXITY
I appreciate the work that Nathaniel Branden has done in the area of self-esteem; how having healthy self-esteem provides significant personal benefits in the work place. Branden asserts that as we moved from an agrarian, through an industrial and into a knowledge based economy, role complexity and the need for employee influence have increased. This demands increased self-mastery.
“In an economy in which knowledge, information, creativity – and their translation into innovation….are transparently the source of wealth and competitive advantage, there are distinct challenges to individuals and to organisations”, according to Branden (1994: The Six Pillars of Self Esteem: 244).
For the individual and paraphrased from Branden’s work these challenges include:
- Acquiring appropriate knowledge;
- Committing to lifelong learning;
- Working effectively with other human beings; participating in non-adversarial relationships; building consensus; displaying a willingness to assume leadership; and motivating colleagues;
- Responding appropriately to change;
- Cultivating the ability to think for oneself.
He suggests a direct correlation between dealing with an unstable economic environment and high rates of change and adaptability secured through high self-esteem. (Branden, 1994: 242)
ASSAULT ON INTEGRITY AND ETHICS
A sluggish economy, pervasive corruption and a decline in ethics in the business environment means that people are under increased stress to maintain their personal integrity and core values.
It is therefore unsurprising that by far the majority of coachees seek reflection on personal competence and self-mastery in the work place. This aligns with the view expressed by Bossons et al (2012: Coaching Essentials: Practical, Proven Techniques for World Class Executive Coaching: 4), that “while only 3% of coaches are hired to address personal issues, 76% of coaches report assisting executives with personal matters.” (For “personal matters” read self-mastery).
While some self-esteem and self-mastery subjects such as awareness, consciousness, confidence, and assertiveness are selectively embedded in existing coaching methodologies and tools such as the Wheel of Life, Miracle Question, Meta-mirror, Reframing and Transcending Limiting Beliefs, to name a few, I advocate a coaching methodology centred on integrating the fullest spectrum of self-esteem subjects. A methodology that explores the full range of competency and self-appreciation topics as well as how these support living assertively.
Branden (1998: Self-Esteem at Work: How Confident People Make Powerful Companies: 23-24) offers useful definitions for self-esteem, self-mastery and self-respect. Paraphrasing and rolling these definitions into one, I offer a vision for effective living as an affirmation:
I have healthy self-esteem as I confidently declare my competence to meet my life’s challenges, to learn, to make good decisions and to embrace and celebrate change. I affirm that I am worthy of happiness, and it feels right and natural for me to experience success, achievement and fulfillment.
If this approach resonate with you, I invite you to experience self-mastery centred coaching. This will not only enhance your ability to cope with your complex and often toxic work environment, but it will improve your effectiveness in leading a purposeful life.