Preparing to Communicate
Numerous activities happen in the everyday lives of people, and sometimes these activities can take a toll on their psychological and emotional wellbeing. Employees may experience stress at the workplace, which may make them toxic to the workplace environment, thus the need for toxin handlers. Toxin handlers in an organization can be described as employees who assist their colleagues to manage the negative emotions in the workplace. They exercise an empathetic capacity to notice when and how colleagues’ emotional reactions have the potential to turn toxic (Frost, 2004). Employees being emotionally distressed is part of organizational life and these negative emotions influence how employees perform at the workplace. Employees experience various negative emotions at the workplace ranging from frustrations, sadness, anger, and bitterness. Under extreme emotional distress, some employees find it difficult to perform their tasks. Some pain may be minimized through effective and principled management, but other pain-producing events cannot be predicted or avoided (Frost, 2004). Some causes of pain in the workplace include companies merging, which may disrupt routines and expectations, change in familiar leadership, and crucial systems breaking down, which may create havoc for staff, sometimes at the worst possible time (Frost, 2004). In my capacity as a toxic handler, I will strive to cultivate a positive working atmosphere by reducing stressful practices at the office.
Toxin handling is a term used to describe the managerial activities associated with helping organizational members cope with difficult, volatile emotions in the workplace (Kulik, 2009). Moreover, toxin handlers provide compassionate care to their colleagues because they understand the work is essential for sustaining a respectful, humane, and positive workplace culture. A challenge I have encountered as a toxic handler is emotional exhaustion. I try and combat this by going on short vacations to refresh my mind and unwind. Even though toxin handlers help create a positive atmosphere at the workplace thus aiding their colleagues to remain productive, they (toxin handlers) face a risk of emotional exhaustion, which can affect how they feel and perform their job. Additionally, there is the emotional baggage that comes with counseling colleagues. Further, toxin handling may not be viewed as a high-priority HR activity, and organizational resources may not be available to support it (Kulik, 2009). When toxin-handling work is done in an environment that acknowledges and supports the person and the activity, the types of positive outcomes multiply for everyone involved (Frost, 2004).
There are toxic employees in almost every organization. A toxic employee embodies distinct undesirable traits such as constant complaints about other colleagues, ill-tempered, and failing to claim responsibilities for their actions, among others. Moreover, a toxic employee can cause an epidemic of problems in the workplace. As a toxic handler, my first objective will be to identify the toxic employees and try to get to the underlying issue that is making him/her toxic. I believe that through empathetic listening, reframing difficult messages, suggesting solutions, and working behind the scenes with the toxic employees, I will be able to reduce the level of toxicity at my workplace. Sometimes employees are unaware of how they come off to other employees and how their words or actions impact the feelings and actions of others. As a toxic handler, I will ensure that employees understand the importance of good communication skills so that whenever they feel toxic, they are able to identify the problem and open up eloquently. Furthermore, toxin handlers need to protect themselves from the negative vibes and emotions of other people. Without toxin handlers, the poisoned atmosphere generated by these stressful events builds, resulting in high levels of turnover, increased health costs, reduced productivity, and lowered employee engagement, as well as an overall negative impact on organizational profitability in the long-term (Daniel, 2017).
As a handler, I will look for indicators of how well my intervention methods worked and skillfully deliver the positive outcomes of my efforts to the leaders of the organization. Some of the key sources of toxicity in organizations include intention, infidelity, intrusion, insensitivity, incompetence, inevitability, and institutional forces. As human beings and employees, we experience a lot of emotions, be it at the workplace or at home and some of these emotions are negative and toxic. It is, therefore, important that we try as much as possible to be optimistic and look at things from a positive perspective. By doing so, we will be able to create a positive working atmosphere for all employees in the workplace. In order to become an effective toxic handler, I will have to build up my capacity to listen to others. Moreover, being open-minded and alert to workplace signals of disunity are important. Handlers need practices that give them time to catch their breath physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually, and to restore the vision of what they are trying to do as healers and as managers.
Daniel, T. A. (2017). Managing Toxic Emotions at Work: HR’s Unique Role as the “Organizational Shock Absorber”. Employment Relations Today, 43(4), 13-19.
Frost, P. (2004). New challenges for leaders and their organization. Organization Dynamics, 33(2), 111-127.
Kulik, C. T., Cregan, C., Metz, I., & Brown, M. (2009). HR managers as toxin handlers: The buffering effect of formalizing toxin handling responsibilities. Human Resource Management, 48(5), 695-716.