We all heard stories of a toxic work environment but check this one out.
Toxic workplaces are often described by gossip, manipulation, bullying, lack of trust & boundaries, unhealthy relationships, or unreasonable stress. This is all true and more...
Imagine a workplace where everything is about your look. No, it is not the fashion or beauty industry. It is not even Victoria's Secret. It is the hotel industry where service should matter and not so much your look.
The story I will tell you must be a warning sign to leaders not to create such an environment where people are objectified. It also warns employees not to lose themselves for a paycheck!
Picture the scene:
There is a male leader who is all about his (and others') look. Beautiful body, botox, great sense of dressing and even better self-care. He clearly has confidence issues otherwise, he wouldn't go to such lengths looking like a 40-year-old well into his 50s. But I always said good for him until this started to unfold in front of me.
I am having lunch with one of the directors (healthy & fit in his 40s) who suddenly says, "Oh, I cannot eat what I want because he (the leader) will comment on my weight. Even during my holiday, I avoided my favourite food." I thought, oh boy, you listen way too much to one person, but I said nothing.
A few months earlier to the previous conversation (above), I am talking to another director (not so fit in her 40s) who tells me she is considering Botox because the leader keeps commenting on the wrinkles on her forehead. Once again, I thought oh wow, he does influence these people. But what did I know how much influence he had?
A few months later, another director (a slightly overweight woman in her 30s) underwent a full-body weight reduction surgery. For weeks she walks around in pain. I looked at her and couldn't believe how far the leader's influence had gone.
In the meantime, I noticed another leader (in her 30s) changing her clothes to a sexier one in the car in the parking. Why? Because the leader has not only implied but openly said several times that we need to go for the sexy look. So she did. But why was she changing in the carpark? Because her husband would disapprove of the clothes, she wears at work. How do I know? She said that to a colleague of mine. This leader also wrote in someone's annual appraisal, "She should wear skirts as per the management." That girl today is wearing skirts with the highest slits.
I always knew people have an influence on others at work, but I never knew how far it could go.
Leaders, please be aware of your influence because it can be highly damaging. Employees, don't lose yourselves in the process of making money.