The Blue-Green Algae Team: Toxic or Tonic…

Toxic or Tonic – What do you bring?

Toxic. It’s a really powerful word. Websters defines it as “Relating to or caused by poison; Very bad, unpleasant, or harmful…”

Blue-green algae on the one hand is in the news as a very dangerous, man-made disaster for the environment and our economy. People just smelling it, let alone touching or ingesting it, can become very ill.
Tonic is defined by Websters as “Giving a feeling of vigor, or well-being; invigorating…”

I always knew blue-green algae as a super-food – a rich source of proteins, vitamins and minerals. It’s commonly understood to help us be more energetic and potentially live longer, healthier lives.


What kind of blue-green algae is in your world? What form are you bringing?

Great teams are not just determined by how talented the people are, or how hard they work, or even how motivated they are for their own goals.

All of these are important, indeed essential. And, truly great teams are much better than the sum of their individual talents, efforts and motivations. Great teams and businesses are defined by how well they work together.

Talented, industrious, motivated people can be toxic or tonic to their teams. If they are ‘team players’ they will bring tonic – make each other, your clients, and your business better. If they are unpleasant, self-promoting, untrustworthy or bullying, then they bring toxicity. No matter how talented, they bring pain and costs to the team, your clients and your business.

As leaders, we get to choose what we will be. Self-promoting, pushing ahead, take-no-prisoners attitudes and behaviors can get us to the top. Invariably, they will not keep us or our businesses thriving or sustainable. Our people, clients and businesses will get get ‘sick of us’, ‘tired of us’, no matter how well paid or how good our products may be.

Here’s what we’ve learned truly matters most to making great teams out of talented people:

1. Deepen trust by being open, honest and consistent in your mood, management, and values. Let your people know you – and help them to get to know each other.

2. Be ‘powerfully vulnerable’ by asking for help, acknowledging fears,challenges and/or shortcomings. People will really step up when you do so –unless they are toxic. And if they are, you get to make a choice…

3. Listen – truly listen. Pay attention, respond, and bring all of yourself to the important conversations. As the leader, your conversation is important to everyone who meets with you…

4. Confront issues. Don’t let them fester. Gossip is super bloom toxic algae. If you are all confronting and resolving issues in a healthy way – the fertilizer for your algae/gossip is gone.

5. Hold Accountable. Hold yourself accountable to do what you say you will. Encourage everyone to do the same. Make it the culture of your business.

The choice is ours every day. Every meeting. We get to decide. Toxic or Tonic – what will I be? What will we be?

Here’s to super food in all our diets!~




Contact us at to learn more on how we can work with your teams and add some ‘tonic’ to your systems and communications.


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