In my line of work as an organizational consultant, I often get to see the impact of having an impaired individual in the workplace. Now, because this month’s wellness theme is “Overcoming Addictions” you might ask yourself, “What does an organizational development consultant have to do with working with people who are struggling with addictions?” It’s a reasonable question, especially if one’s definition of addictions pertains to the classic substances that people associate with addictions such as drugs, alcohol, tobacco, or gambling.

While I do work with teams who have had to deal with the consequences of having an impaired colleague, more often than not, the types of “addictions” that I get asked to consult on have to do with counterproductive behaviors that create psychological toxicity in the workplace.

If we think of addictions in the broad context of “being enslaved to a habit or practice or to something that is psychologically or physically habit-forming” then I can affirm that I do work with people who make a “habit” out of engaging in unskillful behaviors. The behaviors can include, but are not limited to: yelling and screaming, diffusing responsibility, conflict avoidance, defensiveness, micromanaging, or speaking to people in a way that comes across as demeaning or condescending.

In the world of business psychology, we focus on the intersection of human behaviors and business systems. If a person habitually engages in a way that is unskillful it can create a hostile work environment. Think of it as “secondhand smoke” in that those types of behaviors are a toxin in the work environment and have a negative effect on everyone.

Our division offers trainings on how to effectively deal with counterproductive behaviors and workshops that are designed to minimize the stressors that often trigger unskillful behavior. In addition, for individuals who are truly invested in making positive changes, enhancing their work relationships, and “kicking the habit’ of engaging in counter productive behaviors, we offer individualized executive coaching. Visit for more.

Marcia Kent
President, BizPsych