TOXIC – 2018 Word of the Year

So it is. The word most widely and frequently used to describe people, places and conditions in 2018 was toxic.

Toxic has bubbled to the top of the English language’s most-used descriptors of not only environmental poisons, such as toxic gases, chemicals, air and algae – but also of human interactions, including toxic masculinity, relationships and culture.


The Silver Lining

There has to be a sense of sadness and disappointment that this is the state of affairs in 2018 – it is a dark cloud over the significant progress we have made in so many arenas such as science, medicine and technology. Despite all the advances, we continue to grapple with examples of appalling workplace behavior, harassment, discrimination and unconscious biases.

The silver lining comes from the transformation of our attitudes toward toxicity – in 2018, we are no longer willing to tolerate, justify, rationalize, condone or hide either the perpetrators of toxicity or toxic events.

In organisations, leaders are increasingly attuned to the importance of their team members’ mental and physical wellbeing to achieving high performance. A toxic workplace culture is an occupational health and safety risk no less than faulty equipment or dangerous working conditions.

Let’s hope that in 2019 the Word of the Year is one of inspiration.


Want to understand and explore workplace toxicity?

Consider an in-house Executive Briefing on Toxic Leadership.

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