A Toxic Workplace or One That Thrives?

Three of us were casually talking one morning, considering our workload, then putting it all in perspective on how we “used” to go hard all the time. Ultimately the word “burnout” and “depression” showed up. 

In some way, we were expressing the consequences of doing our best work. However this consequence came from not doing our best work. In the commitment to work hard and spending long hours at work, we found ourselves withering.  We suffered, if you will, from creative constipation. 

I began to take a long hard look at what was happening. I call it the inner toxicity that becomes the broth - the trash in my head space becomes more pronounced and intense.  It’s the “stuff” that inverts my world from bright to dark. 

So what do others see when I am experiencing creative constipation? 

Well, it’s not good. The modus operandi of a person experiencing creative constipation is to lash out at the world. That seems obvious. But what lies underneath is even more difficult. I begin lashing out at myself. I become resentful and bitter of others - even those I love - even the ones who are doing their best work. 

There is a term used today that gives us some perspective - integral leadership. While a complex ideology, it is a place where I am no longer leading for my own good, but for a purpose larger than myself. It means I can go deeper to develop my character - who I am. 

The “system” mirrors our healthy as well as dysfunctional selves, both as individuals and as a collective unit. It isn’t the system that is healthy or dysfunctional, but the people who are in the system. To truly change an organization you must engage in deep relationships that can then lead change from the inside out. With a shift in mindset we can engage in conflict but not become obsessed by it or define others by it. Core to this idea is that even in conflicting circumstances, you resist turning the person you are engaged with into an enemy or adversary.