Podcast with Ellen Van Acker and Hans van der Loo about: Toxic behavior on the workfloor

I started a Dutch podcast a half year ago, around personal growth. Its called ‘De Groeizoekers’, roughly translated ‘those searching for growth’.

Once per month I interview a person from whom we can learn a lot, around different topics or expertise. In my 6th podcast, I interviewed an expert on Psychological Safety. Best seller author Hans van der Loo, who has written a lot of books, amongst others ‘Musk Mania’.

Since these conversations are very interesting and offer a lot of insights, I figured.. I’d ask Chat GPT to transcript it in English to broader the audience. Turns out its not a complete transcript but more of a high over summary. Nevertheless.. interesting short read for those who want to!

Podcast is also on YouTube where you can click on ‘transcript in English’ if you would like to look at the whole conversation.


Ellen Van Acker: Welcome to De Groeizoekers, the podcast for everyone who is looking for growth.


Ellen Van Acker: Today we have Hans van der Loo on the show. Hans is a consultant, writer, and speaker who has worked for different companies. Hans recently wrote the book ‘Giftig gedoe op de werkplek (Toxic behavior on the workfloor), in which he describes how bad leadership can lead to toxicity in the workplace. Hans, welcome to De Groeizoekers.

Hans van der Loo: Thank you, Ellen. Great to be here.

Ellen Van Acker: First of all, why did you start writing this book?

Hans van der Loo: Well, I see around me that there are more and more complaints about the working atmosphere and leadership in the workplace. And I think we really need to do something about it. It’s not only bad for the health of the employees, but also for the results of the company. Ultimately, bad leadership only costs money.

Ellen Van Acker: Yes, that’s definitely true. And what do you mean exactly by toxicity in the workplace?

Hans van der Loo: Well, toxicity is actually a collective term for everything that negatively affects the working atmosphere. Think, for example, of bullying, gossiping, micromanagement, or intimidation. These kinds of behaviors make people stressed and unhappy, which can ultimately lead to absenteeism and burnouts.

Ellen Van Acker: Yes, that is indeed very bad for the employees’ health. And what do you think are the main causes of toxicity in the workplace?

Hans van der Loo: Well, that can have different causes. In my book, for example, I describe how leadership can play a big role. Bad leaders can really ruin the working atmosphere. But also systems and processes within the company can contribute to a bad working atmosphere. If employees, for example, have the feeling that they are not being heard, or if they feel like they are not in the right place, that can lead to frustration and dissatisfaction.

Ellen Van Acker: Yes, that is very recognizable. And what can companies do to prevent toxicity in the workplace?

Hans van der Loo: Well, that starts, of course, with good leadership. Leaders must support and motivate employees, and ensure that there is a safe and positive working atmosphere. But also involving employees in decisions and giving feedback can contribute to a positive working atmosphere. Another important factor is transparency. If employees feel like they are not being kept informed, that can lead to distrust and dissatisfaction.

Ellen Van Acker: Yes, that makes sense. And what can employees themselves do to prevent toxicity in the workplace?

Hans van der Loo: Well, employees can take a number of steps themselves. For example, they can set boundaries and speak up when something is bothering them. They can also try to maintain a positive attitude and support their colleagues. Ultimately, it’s about taking responsibility for your own well-being, and for the well-being of your colleagues.

Ellen Van Acker: Yes, that’s very important. And what can we learn from companies or leaders who do it right?

Hans van der Loo: Well, what we see with successful companies and leaders is that they are focused on the development and growth of their employees. They also communicate openly and honestly, and are not afraid to admit their mistakes. And perhaps most importantly, they lead by example. If leaders behave respectfully and positively, that sets the tone for the entire organization.

Ellen Van Acker: Yes, that’s definitely true. And what is your ultimate message to our listeners when it comes to toxicity in the workplace?

Hans van der Loo: My message is that we need to take toxicity in the workplace seriously. It’s not just about individual cases, but about the well-being of the entire organization. And that means that both leaders and employees need to take responsibility for creating a positive working atmosphere. It’s not always easy, but it’s definitely worth it in the end.

Ellen Van Acker: Yes, that’s a very important message. Thank you so much for sharing your insights with us today, Hans.

Hans van der Loo: Thank you, Mark. It was my pleasure.

Ellen Van Acker: And that’s it for today’s episode of De Groeizoekers. Thank you for listening and don’t forget to tune in to our next episode.

For those who can speak Dutch and want to listen to De Groeizoekers

#10 Wat apen ons in (vrouwelijk) leiderschap kunnen leren – met Daniel Seesink De Groeizoekers

Daniel Seesink is bedrijfsprimatoloog en gespecialiseerd in apengedrag, wat hij inzet als spiegel voor menselijk gedrag binnen bedrijven. In deze aflevering gaat we dieper in op wat we daaruit kunnen leren op vlak van vrouwelijk leiderschap. Als je jouw bedrijf ook eens een apenspiegel wilt voorleggen, kun je kijken op http://www.bewustzoo.nl voor het aanbod van Daniel. Wil je meer weten over vrouwelijk leiderschap en hoe je daarin kunt groeien: volg dan Ellemonte, the female leaders podcast op Spotify of Youtube.
  1. #10 Wat apen ons in (vrouwelijk) leiderschap kunnen leren – met Daniel Seesink
  2. #9 Vrouwelijk leiderschap in een mannenwereld – met Esther Huijsmans
  3. #8 Zelfacceptatie en het belang van een inclusieve omgeving – met Nicky Roelofsen
  4. #7 Ondernemen dicht bij de klant, samen met de familie – met Femke Helon
  5. #6 Giftig gedoe op de werkplek met Hans van der Loo

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