Workplace Slideshow: Toxic Relationships at Work

By Dennis McCafferty  |  Posted 02-02-2011
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Create buffer zones

Create buffer zones

Employees need a safe place to work and speak freely without being confronted by others.

Relationships can turn toxic within a company for many reasons, and an atmosphere of cultural intolerance is often a leading culprit. This can occur when workplace competition (either between departments or within one) intensifies to the point where office wars break out, leading to total mistrust within the organization. CIOs in particular must pay attention to these inter-personal workplace dynamics in today's technology-driven ecosystem of connectivity and collaboration. Solid intra/inter-departmental relationships are about more than simply "getting along" - they're essential to the day-to-day success of a company. In the book, Boundary Spanning Leadership (McGraw-Hill Professional/Available now), authors Chris Ernst and Donna Chrobot-Mason offer tactics to overcome any "clash of civilizations," whether it's a conflict between two different teams that can't see eye to eye; a cluster of departments grinding up against each other like tectonic plates; or a level of incivility that's extreme enough to put projects -- and careers -- on the line. Ernst is a senior faculty member at the Center for Creative Leadership. Chrobot-Mason is an associate professor in psychology at the University of Cincinnati and director of the Center for Organizational Leadership. Here are selected, "how to" highlights from the book:

Dennis McCafferty is a freelance writer for Baseline Magazine.


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