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The Reality of those who Subscribe to the 'Survival of the Fittest' Cut-Throat Mentality in the Workplace.

Have you ever thought about why people choose to be unpleasant and unkind at work? 

Healthy competition is one thing, however toxicity in people, processes, workplace cultures and organisations is another. Here I talk about what I believe is the reality of those who subscribe to the 'Survival of the Fittest' Cut-Throat Mentality in the Workplace.


#empatheticleadership


It is well known that the workplace can be a space at times where mature adults can collaborate and produce something meaningful and of value whilst earning a living in the process. It can be a safe and healthy space where there may be positivity, the birth of genius ideas, healthy competition and so much more!

 

In saying this, the workplace is also well known to be a space where there may be politics, toxic people, unfairness in processes and outcomes, negativity and all round a rough and tough environment. Why is this so?


For the longest time, most people have been conditioned to believe that the workplace is where emotions are mostly not allowed and being human is a career limiting move. Narcissistic personality types or those high in narcissistic traits have of course thrived in these environments creating a self-fulfilling prophecy that being selfish, unkind, competitive in a toxic manner and ruthless is the path to succeeding. Think of the movie ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’.


It is only in recent times that people are realising that this conditioning is unnecessary, counterproductive, inefficient, stifling creativity and limiting progress in the workplace environment. There has been a rise in advocacy for Empathetic Leaders and research proving how having empathy and compassion leads to much better outcomes and/or results for people, processes, practices and generally speaking businesses overall. For example, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is well known and often described as an empathetic leader. In recent times, she has been praised in Australian media for these qualities which were previously seen as weaknesses in the working world.


Reality is that those who subscribe to the old school mentality of ‘survival of the fittest’ are lacking emotional intelligence. Connection, finding things in common, valuing diversity and collaboration are the keys to success. We have seen time and time again, people who have risen to the top being unkind, mean spirited and autocratic but inevitably we have seen that this is what leads to their downfall as well. Think again of Leonardo DiCaprio’s character in the ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ or in real life in the movie industry Harvey Weinstein. Also, look at the support shown to female leaders Annette Kimmitt and Christine Holgate who were initially poorly treated in their respective circumstances which led to their termination or resignation, however who rose not long after gaining senior leadership positions in other organisations due to their empathetic leadership styles and the value that has been attributed to these leadership traits in the workplace in recent times.


Here's hoping that common sense prevails and that better standards are set in workplace environments which contribute to changing this age old mindset and the promotion of narcissistic personality types.


"...having empathy and compassion leads to much better outcomes and/or results for people, processes, practices and generally speaking businesses overall."