Zoë Routh Leadership Podcast

What to do when the toxicity comes from the top - Kim Williams’ leadership insights

Human resources specialist Kimberly Williams is extremely dedicated to building safe, inclusive cultures and she joins me to explore the challenges of dealing with toxic CEOs and workplaces, generously sharing her own experiences of speaking truth to power. 

Kimberly arrived at HR via an unconventional route: first as a history professor and then a diplomat in the US Foreign Service before falling ‘head over heels in love’ with HR and all the messy people stuff it brings.  We discuss the many ways a toxic workplace can show itself, the difficult power dynamics that impact managers, and the role of HR in shaping corporate culture. It’s a remarkable, candid conversation full of practical actions we can take to protect ourselves, our teams and our company cultures. 


See more at:  http://www.zoerouth.com/podcast/toxic-corporate-culture-kim-williams


Key Moments 

Planet Human: Marc Andreessen's Techno Optimist Manifesto and the advent of techno-topia city projects.

Planet Zoe: Back from Canada and happy to complete the last edits of Olympus Bound, the sequel to the Olympus Project.

Toxic Workplaces and How to Identify Them (00:07:18)

Guest Kimberly Williams discusses how toxic workplaces can manifest through both overt and subtle behaviours.

Causes of Toxic Workplaces (00:08:07)

The lack of difficult conversations and fear of retribution prevent managers from addressing issues, leading to the deterioration of the organisational environment.

Dealing with Toxic Workplaces as an Individual (00:11:05)

Kim advises individuals to take detailed notes to document their experiences and protect themselves when navigating a toxic workplace.

Document everything (00:12:14)

Putting complaints in writing, citing company policies, can be a powerful way to address toxic behaviour and secure one's position.

The toxic workplace and dealing with toxic CEOs (00:31:19)

Discussion about toxic workplaces, the harm caused by toxic CEOs, and the approach to addressing the issue.

Misconceptions about HR (00:32:26)

Exploration of the types of issues HR deals with, including the majority being people struggling with lack of self-awareness, and common misconceptions about HR.

The role of HR in managing culture (00:36:21)

Discussion about HR's role in contributing to and influencing organisational culture, creating psychological safety, and providing insights to executives.

HR's struggles and toxic workplaces (00:43:43)

Conversation about the struggles HR professionals face and the reputation of HR, as well as the signs of a toxic workplace.

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Description by Zoë Routh Leadership Podcast
Weekly leadership insights and interviews with CEOs, Senior Execs, Experts and Leaders in teams and culture where we ask 'what if?' to explore the future of leadership.“Thoughtful, well researched, heart felt, professional and brimming with passion and enthusiasm. Zoë Routh - you are AS GOOD (maybe better) as some of the other big names on our podcast list including Tim Ferris and Peter Diamandis.” ~ Kate Billing, Co-Founder at Blacksmith
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