We have all heard the frog in the boiling pot story. Poor fellow, he is like the worker in a toxic environment who gives it his all, but is slowly cooked — until his struggle is over.
It would be great if there were more workplaces that nurtured and encouraged people to grow, places where boundaries are made clear and becoming all you can become is a good thing.
To nurture means to support, educate or train. It is an opportunity to alleviate the stress of poverty and interpersonal conflict by providing a fair wage and the information, tools and support to do the job well. Conflict, which is part of being human, is resolved in a kind and patient manner.
This type of environment is created from the top down. To nurture as a leader means to willingly take on the role of servant. True leadership is actually selfless in nature, and realizes that power is a gift given for the benefit and care of those under the leader’s charge.
The first important factor in achieving this type of workplace is frequent open communication. This is the foundation of all good relationships. Expectations, responsibilities, and roles are clarified, often in a mutually respectful manner. The workplace is organic in nature, ever changing — and successful operations (both private and public) will expand, as will the jobs that move them forward. This is why regular dialogue and inclusive planning for change is a good idea.
Humility is a second factor. To have humility means to think less about oneself, not less of oneself. If you are an employee, take a step back and look at the entire picture, and how your role impacts others. If you are a leader, have clear personal boundaries, and watch for the ripple effect your decisions create. The possibility of opening up communication and empathic understanding is what may be gained.
If you desire a wholesome workplace, be willing to get involved in a positive way. If you see a potential problem, address it; showing genuine concern goes a long way. To be supportive may take the form of being a burden bearer. We all have times when we need to lean on a trusted confidant in the form of a manager, counselor or arbitrator. On the flip side, opportunities in the form of training for those who wish to move ahead are another way to nurture. This is a way to say, I applaud your choice to become more.
To look for the golden nuggets of what is right with a person is better than turning up the temperature, or digging up dirt. As a leader, it is preferable too catch people doing something right and commend them. When having to meet with an employee or do an evaluation, use the elementary teachers’ tool of “three stars and a wish”. This means you should find two accolades for every area that needs shoring up.
If you are an employee, express gratitude to a boss who is doing it right, and look for ways to encourage him or her. Seeking gold does not mean offering insincere or honey-coated jargon, but a offering comment or action coming from a sincere heart. We all share the fact that we are human, and a bag of gold dust is more valuable than a bag of dirt.
A final term we often hear is “safety in the workplace”. This conjures up pictures of injury and first aid. But safety is not only physical; it’s emotional as well. To have zero tolerance for gossip and to gather tools on hand like conflict resolution and restorative justice are invaluable.
People are apt to fall in the “frog’s pot” now and again, but in a wholesome environment they can confidently sit on the pot handle, trusting and being trusted, respected and being respectful, valued and valuing. They can feel confident that if they slip, there is someone able and willing to lend a hand. Someone rooting for their success and rejoicing when they succeed.
Dr. Anthony Biglan for his post “Minimize Toxic Environments“
Did you enjoy this article?
Please let the author know by leaving them a comment below!
And, subscribe to our free weekly digest!
Simply add your email below. A confirmation email will be sent to you.