Written By Kelsey Paske, KP Consulting, Australia
As an Equality, Diversity and Inclusion practitioner with a focus on preventing bullying, harassment and sexual misconduct, I’ve encountered plenty of workplace conflicts and examples of toxic environments where behavioural standards do not line up with organisational values. In these circumstances, it was often my role to provide strategic advice and support when things got really bad.
As a practitioner, my focus has always been on prevention: how do we stop these behaviours before they start? An important first step is to recognise that these behaviours exist on a continuum, and that prevention frameworks including primary prevention and focusing on the drivers of particular behaviour require early intervention. This is why my interest piqued when colleagues at a former workplace started to talk about TetraMap. I’d heard it being described as a simple and effective tool to celebrate differences and prevent workplace conflict.
I was sceptical at first, what I had encountered or heard of through other programmes was the tendency to ‘other’, or stereotype individuals through their personality traits, leadership or communication styles. While it may not be the intention of the program, but the outcome was that either the content or delivery could serve to reinforce difference and harmful stereotypes, rather than harness the power of difference. Such stereotyping and boxing in can lend itself to enabling toxic working environments where there is a limited sense of belonging, and where unacceptable behaviours can flourish.
“Your first and foremost job as a leader is to take charge of your own energy and then help orchestrate the energies of those around you.” Peter Drucker
I was really surprised and inspired by the simplicity of TetraMap and its commitment to positive psychology. TetraMap uses the metaphor of nature in an accessible and safe way to more deeply understand ourselves and those around us. The framework focuses on moving away from boxing people into one characteristic and instead celebrates difference: highlighting that all four elements of Earth, Air, Water and Fire are needed at different times and are present in successful teams.
The language was simple but carefully selected: it focused on individual and team elemental preferences, recognising that at any given point in our lives we may have different and ever-changing preferences. The reference to the tetrahedron focused on how we could, as Peter Drucker suggests, orchestrate the various interdependent energies in our teams to not only foster a sense of inclusion and purpose but to achieve our overall goals.
I see TetraMap as a powerful tool for engaging in early intervention and preventing a toxic work environment. TetraMap builds the necessary self-awareness in individuals and in teams to rethink how their unique elemental preferences can enhance their team and organisation, and that is only when we harness the power of all four elements can we reach our potential.
If you would like to find out more about TetraMap or explore how it may enhance your organisational strategy and practice, please book an appointment with me.