Toxic employees? First, look in the mirror.

Earlier this week, a friend of mine who works in retail shared with me that her boss, in a daily staff meeting intended to motivate performance said, “You should understand that ALL of you are replaceable! There are toxic people on this team!

Really, Captain Obvious?

Years ago, I took a transformational workshop in which I was repeatedly told, ”There’s nobody out there.” This confused me greatly until I finally understood that life is a mirror that shows us who we are being by putting in our path those who reflect us.

I can’t say I was initially thrilled by that realization.

Now that I understand how The Law of Attraction works, I am happy that life is a mirror because it means I can do something about it. The alternative would be that I have no control whatsoever over what shows up around me.

The Law of Attraction dictates that we get more of what we focus on. We also get more of what we are being.

Show me a toxic team and I’ll show you a leader who is (a) toxic himself or (b) resisting toxicity with everything he’s got (which means his full attention is on toxicity), or (c) both. I want to call my friend’s retail manager and say, “If you start focusing on what your team does well, the toxicity will immediately begin to diminish.” I suspect he would reply, “Tell them to stop being toxic and I’ll be able to see what they do well.”

In my line of work, the leadership team that hires me almost always wants me to “fix” the employees. Those employees they want me to fix repeatedly ask, “Are the managers ALSO getting this message?”

That is the dance of poor Employee Engagement: I’ll change as soon as THEY change. I’ll focus on their faults until they stop focusing on mine.

No one seems to understand that you cannot see in the mirror something you are not a match to. As long as you are focused on the behavior you don’t want, you will continue to see that behavior all around you. Worse, when you look in an actual mirror, your face will be that of someone exhibiting the exact same behavior.

I suspect that, like me, you may not initially be thrilled by this message. Take heart. All you need to do is change your focus! Start looking for the behavior you want. If you don’t see it, start imagining it so vividly that it feels like it’s already happening. And watch how quickly things change.

Change your focus; engage your team!

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