In my other blog, I have talked about Toxic Positivity as it occurs in our personal lives or on social media. We need to be wary of it in the workplace too.
Toxically positive environments are not healthy. It can be manifested in an atmosphere where everyone is expected to be cheerful all the time or being told that you should be grateful to have this job, etc. They do not allow people to feel what they feel, forcing them instead to focus on any non-positive emotion as being “wrong” when those emotions often lead us to better results. Some might consider that fear and doubt negative, but it could also be a warning about something that isn’t a good idea. I think it’s important for anyone in leadership to stop and consider these questions that author Susan Cain offered up in this interview:
“Cain says businesses should ask themselves the following questions to determine if toxic positivity is present:
Is this a place where people are allowed to play the role of devil’s advocate?
Are people allowed to challenge or change the culture?
Can people express concerns or reservations during meetings?”
When you aren’t allowed to question, you are probably also not allowed to have a bad day or express frustration. That limits how much of you can show up in the workplace.
That is not the way to get employee engagement and the best efforts of the people who work for you. In today’s job market, it is a good way to lose them.