Toxic Flexibility: Are You *Accidentally* Creating A Toxic Work Environment? - the-paradigm.com blog

Toxic Flexibility: Are You *Accidentally* Creating A Toxic Work Environment?

May 19, 2022

Written by Kiley VanGilder

Toxic Flexibility.

Sounds a bit contradicting, right? Toxic and flexibility don’t go hand in hand, what in the world do you mean KIRA! We are trying to break those corporate chains, no more 9-5PM Monday-Friday schedules …flexibility isn’t toxic, its the key to it all!!!?

Ok, ok, ok, I know what you’re thinking, but hear me out. I’m not flexing on flexible schedules (ok sorry I had to get that in there), I’m talking something much deeper than a flexible schedule. Something more rooted into our culture that comes from the best of intentions.

In our attempts to do the exact opposite of the corporate world, we are jumping to the other end of the spectrum where a whole new world of possibilities open up, somewhere flexibility truly can become toxic. Heres why.

Toxic flexibility occurs when a company has very limited structure. Employees don’t have clarity around their roles or their day to day job functions. They become your yes-man, or yes-woman, because they don’t know if it’s their job or if they even know how to do the job, but you asked and they won’t say no. They aren’t quite sure about the why behind it all or when the next project due date is coming up, because everything is so CHILL, why’s it matter? Being so chill can actually cause employee burnout from stressing about the what-ifs and the not-so-chill job demands that ARE there even if we mask it in cool, calm, and collected vibes.

We leave a lingering sense of uncertainty in a culture with toxic flexibility. That in turn leads to burnout, turnover, lack of responsibility being taken, less productivity, and overall trouble for a business. When we don’t create a structure or strong foundations for our employees to follow, we create the complete opposite problem many corporate environments have. We create employees who long for more solid structures. Some employees even end up missing their 9-5s!

When we provide our employees with flexibility in their work schedule, and a solid foundation with value behind the work being done and a clear outline explaining how to get from point A to point B and then to C, we are creating a safe environment where employees can feel confident in the work they are doing and stay engaged in the day to day job functions.

Employees need flexibility, but they also need structure. They need to know what is expected of them when they come to work, even if they come to work when it fits around their life. Building solid foundations from day one can and will balance out that spectrum and leave your business thriving in the middle. We CAN AND SHOULD be giving flexibility to employees, while also equipping them with the knowledge and clarity around the company, their job functions, and the resources around them to either get the job done or pass it to the right team member.

It’s time to start being a CEO who does create structure and set boundaries, because your employees and your business like it, love it, and want some more of it (ok I’m really done). And when your employees are happy, your business is happy!

Afraid you’re creating (out of your very best intentions) a toxic flexibility within your company culture? Join us for our management training, Paradigm Management Foundations: Humanity Driven Leadership to dive deep into management and what your team needs from you, as the CEO!

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