Banishing toxicity at work

Toxic: A guide to rebuilding respect and tolerance in a hostile workplace (Bloomsbury Business; £14), by Clive Lewis. Reviewed by Emily Hutchinson.

Clive Lewis is a respected business psychologist with many years as a workplace mediator under his belt. One of the things that I really enjoyed about this book is that Lewis shares both his extensive practitioner experiences, and his more personal reflections and observations.

We know that diversity and inclusivity matter in organisations, ethically and in terms of business results. And yet our understanding of exactly how environments can become toxic and exclusive is often limited. This book is a guide to what a toxic environment can look like and some of the constituent parts that come together to form that environment.

It is very readable, with lots of examples, and it is written in an accessible style. It provides theoretical underpinnings but is aimed at practice – and this makes it useful for managers and leaders regardless of their knowledge base. Each chapter ends top tips aimed at the three levels of organisational, line manager and employee. It also contains some practical guidance, highlighting the value that Lewis places on having conversations, rather than relying simply on processes to reach resolution.

This book shows that organisations can make changes to create a healthy working environment, and that this not only benefits the individuals within them, but also makes sound business sense.

- Reviewed by Emily Hutchinson, Associate Editor (books), Director of Apply Psychology

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