In many African workplaces, leadership style can significantly impact employee well-being and workplace trauma. This was the case for a Nigerian bank, where the CEO’s leadership style caused significant trauma among employees.
The CEO of the bank was known for his authoritarian leadership style. He often dismissed employees’ concerns and regularly berated them for not meeting his high expectations. His leadership style created a toxic work environment where employees felt undervalued and unsupported.
One employee, in particular, was severely impacted by the CEO’s leadership style. The middle-aged female employee had worked at the bank for over a decade and was highly respected by her colleagues. However, the CEO’s constant criticism and belittling made her feel increasingly anxious and stressed at work.
Over time, her mental health deteriorated, and she was eventually diagnosed with depression and anxiety. She was forced to take extended leave from work to receive treatment, further exacerbating her financial and emotional stress.
Leadership styles that prioritize collaboration, communication, and employee well-being are more effective in promoting a healthy workplace culture and preventing workplace trauma
The employee’s case was not unique, with many other employees experiencing similar trauma due to the CEO’s leadership style. The bank’s HR department received multiple complaints about the CEO’s behavior, but no action was taken to address the issue.
Eventually, the negative impact of the CEO’s leadership style became too great to ignore. The bank’s reputation suffered, with employees leaving the organization in droves. This significantly impacted the bank’s bottom line, with reduced productivity and increased recruitment costs.
In response, the bank’s board of directors took action to address the issue. They appointed a new CEO with a more collaborative leadership style, who prioritized employee well-being and actively sought to create a positive work environment.
The new CEO implemented new policies and programs to support employees, such as mental health support services and flexible working arrangements. Over time, the bank’s culture began to shift, and the impact of the previous CEO’s leadership style began to fade. Employee morale improved, and the bank’s productivity and financial performance began to recover.
This case study illustrates the significant impact that leadership style can have on workplace trauma in an African setting. It highlights the importance of creating a positive work environment where employees feel valued, supported, and heard. Leadership styles that prioritize collaboration, communication, and employee well-being are more effective in promoting a healthy workplace culture and preventing workplace trauma.
So how can leaders take responsibility for creating a safe and supportive work environment?
One important step is to prioritize emotional intelligence. This means being aware of your own emotions and how they impact others, as well as being able to recognize and respond to the emotions of your employees. Leaders who are emotionally intelligent are better able to build trust and rapport with their employees, which can help to create a more positive work environment.
Another critical step is to prioritize communication. Leaders who are open and transparent in their communication are better able to build trust and foster a sense of community within their organization. This means being willing to listen to feedback from employees, as well as being willing to admit when you’ve made a mistake and take steps to correct it.
It’s also important for leaders to prioritize employee well-being. This means recognizing the importance of work-life balance and ensuring employees can take breaks and prioritize their mental and physical health. Leaders who prioritize employee wellbeing are more likely to create a positive work environment, which can help to reduce the likelihood of workplace trauma.
Further, leaders need to take an active role in addressing workplace trauma when it does occur. This means creating a safe and supportive environment where employees feel comfortable reporting incidents of harassment or discrimination, as well as taking swift action to address these issues when they arise.
Leaders who take an active role in addressing workplace trauma are more likely to create an environment of trust and accountability, which can help prevent future incidents. Leaders can take several steps to stop perpetuating workplace trauma in their organizations. Here are some brief examples:
1. Create a culture of psychological safety: Leaders can foster a culture where employees feel safe and comfortable sharing their experiences, opinions, and concerns. This can be done by encouraging open communication, active listening, and non-judgmental feedback.
2. Provide training and education: Leaders can provide training and education to employees to help them recognize and address workplace trauma. This can include conflict resolution, diversity and inclusion, and mental health awareness.
3. Implement policies and procedures: Leaders can implement policies and procedures to prevent workplace trauma. This can include zero-tolerance policies for harassment and discrimination, clear guidelines for addressing workplace conflict, and procedures for reporting and managing incidents of workplace trauma.
4. Offer support and resources: Leaders can offer support and resources to employees who have experienced workplace trauma. This can include access to counseling services, employee assistance programs, and support groups.
5. Lead by example: Leaders can lead by example by demonstrating positive behaviors and attitudes towards their employees. This can include treating employees with respect, valuing their contributions, and promoting work-life balance.
In conclusion, workplace trauma is a serious issue that affects many employees across all industries. While individual perpetrators may be to blame in some cases, it’s important to recognize the role that leadership style can play in creating or exacerbating these issues.
Leaders who prioritize emotional intelligence, communication, employee well-being, and taking an active role in addressing workplace trauma are more likely to create a positive and supportive work environment, which can help reduce the likelihood of workplace trauma and its effect on the productivity and mental wellness of employees.