Psychosocial Hazards, Positive Duty and Toxic Leadership and How To Heal An Organisation

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In April 2023, new work health and safety laws were introduced. Organisations now require employers to identify and manage risks to workers’ mental health. Organisations must review how they handle these risks and focus on creating mentally healthy workplaces, involving workers in the process.

In December 2022, a new positive duty was introduced, legally obligating organizations to proactively prevent workplace misconduct, including sexual harassment and sex discrimination. This shift emphasizes prevention over reaction, aiming to create safe, respectful, and inclusive workplaces. All Australian organizations, regardless of size or type, must comply with this duty under the Sex Discrimination Act.

Addressing both toxic leadership and psychosocial hazards is crucial for creating a healthy work environment. Implementing inclusive leadership practices, providing support mechanisms, promoting organizational justice, and fostering positive workplace relationships are essential steps toward mitigating these challenges and promoting employee well-being.

Psychosocial hazards and toxic leadership are closely related as they both contribute to adverse workplace conditions that can negatively impact employees’ mental health and well-being. Here’s how they are connected:

Poor Leadership Practices

Toxic leadership includes destructive behaviors like bullying and harassment, fostering a hostile work environment. These actions not only contribute to psychosocial hazards by increasing job demands and creating a lack of support but also perpetuate a culture of sex-based discrimination. Leaders, through their behavior, set a tone that may lead to unequal treatment, fostering a hostile workplace environment based on gender.

Lack of Support and Recognition

Toxic leaders may fail to provide adequate support or recognition for their team members. This absence of positive reinforcement can contribute to psychosocial hazards like low job satisfaction and poor mental health.

Organisational Justice

Toxic leadership often results in a lack of fairness and equity within the organisation. When organisational justice is lacking, it can result in disparities in how sex-based discrimination cases are handled. This unequal treatment may exacerbate feelings of injustice among affected persons and perpetuate a culture where discriminatory behavior is tolerated.

Conflict and Poor Workplace Relationships

Toxic leaders may create a culture of conflict and poor interpersonal relationships. This directly aligns with psychosocial hazards related to workplace relationships and interactions.

Bullying and Harassment

Toxic leadership often involves behaviors such as bullying and harassment, which are direct psychosocial hazards. These actions can cause significant harm to individuals’ mental health. This can also create a hostile workplace environment for individuals based on their gender, leading to an increased risk of workplace discrimination and related acts of victimization.

Job Demands and Control

Toxic leaders may set unrealistic job demands without providing adequate control or autonomy to employees. This imbalance can lead to stress and burnout, contributing to psychosocial hazards.

We help organisations identify and mitigate psychosocial hazards, and adhere to positive duty to heal toxic workplace environments. reach out to us today via email to to learn more.

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