Toxic Leaders and Workplace Stagnation

“Career Stagnation” — a situation in which people feel stuck on their workplace journey. The ladder they were climbing has turned into a foggy, murky, smelly swamp. One’s sense of direction, intentional movement, and personal growth seems lost in the dense fog of one’s life. In short, our daily bread keeps turning up stale.

In complex and subtle ways, there’s a connection between individual career stagnation and toxic work environments. Although there’s great talk about inspirational leadership these days, too often we encounter formal leaders who literally create a swamp-like context for work. They make excessive demands that corrode our life balance, and they model an aggressive “macho” approach to workplace performance. Emotions are not part of the performance equation. And other commitments, especially family obligations, are seen as barriers to peak performance.

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