How to start changing an unhealthy work environment | Glenn D. Rolfsen | TEDxOslo

  • Published on May 2, 2016
  • Do you think backbiting is happening at your workplace or place of study?
    Glenn Rolfsen's talk is about what contributes to a toxic work environment and what the significant factors are that determine our working life quality. His approach addresses how to achieve a permanent end to slander and bullying among adults in the workplace.
    Glenn D. Rolfsen is a psychotherapist working in corporate health service in Oslo. He has also worked as a teacher to educate gestalt therapists in Norway and several European countries. He is particularly concerned with the psychosocial work environment in enterprises. As corporate counsel and leadership consultant, he works daily to improve working life quality for employees.
    This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at

Comments • 402

  • Simonpeter Inyangat
    Simonpeter Inyangat 2 days ago

    creating the winning culture in the company or workplace creates team building in the among the works and it leads to the productivity of the employees .

  • Seppe Zimmerer
    Seppe Zimmerer 2 days ago

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  • Mahjabeen Malik
    Mahjabeen Malik 14 days ago

    sorry friend...our society builds on gossip

  • jont60
    jont60 17 days ago

    It's a shame he hasn't offered an alternative solution. In my mind back biting or back stabbing as I know it occurs for 2 main reasons. Malice or frustration at a colleagues poor performance. I agree 1st must be stamped out. But how does one constructively deal with the latter.

  • Documentary Archives
    Documentary Archives 19 days ago +1

    Great topic. Thanks for sharing. This world is full of air holes. Unfortunately with the model of capitalism in play there will always be a market for those who wish to elevate themselves above others. Dog eat dog mentality. People are not human they more brute beasts.

  • Ana Robertson Angel’s Whisperer

    So good! Thank you 🙌🏻🙌🏻🙌🏻

  • Harry Fernandez
    Harry Fernandez 22 days ago +1

    Nice...I will apply it... Thanks

  • Troll Face
    Troll Face 25 days ago +1

    nothing new learned here.

  • rahmu99 freeman
    rahmu99 freeman 26 days ago +1

    Thanks l leaned lot

  • J G
    J G 29 days ago +1

    Identify the companies, I would like to apply for a job.

  • Diane B
    Diane B Month ago +3

    I work with people like this, I ignore them.

  • Mildred Kimberly Dawn Lee

    While I get his concept the issue falls on the maturity level of the employers and the employees; to change and grow on this level a person would must first see the value in their signature.

  • laarni vergara
    laarni vergara Month ago +1

    02:21 I could raise both my hands hahahaha! Triple Filter Test, wish all people apply it. 😂 I'm inspired by TEDTalks and LEAP Channel Learn everyday. thanks for motivating people. 👍

  • Nina Schaefer
    Nina Schaefer Month ago +1

    That's a grown up

  • Minakhi Sarangi
    Minakhi Sarangi Month ago +1

    🙏Thank you sir🙏👍

  • S O
    S O Month ago +1

    Every job I ever had was toxic. Just the things ppl would say and do. Most things should be kept to yourself,or your friends, not work.

  • Maria Libanio
    Maria Libanio Month ago

    About Socrates and the test and then... he was killed...

  • Rexx Thunder
    Rexx Thunder Month ago

    I didn't like his presentation, do tell him I said that.

  • Nermeen Ragab
    Nermeen Ragab 2 months ago

    Even though the speaker talked about the definition , reasons and effects of gossip , he failed to define what could be done to stop it.

    • UbuntoO
      UbuntoO Month ago

      They sign a contact and there is peer and supervisory pressure to comply or leave.

  • Nena Dinamica
    Nena Dinamica 2 months ago

    But when you dealing with ignorance what can do nothing but to ignored them... Because is not worth it... Sooner or later they will tired!

  • Ahmad Fawzi
    Ahmad Fawzi 2 months ago

    ٤ق قف ٧هةة

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  • Debora Escudero Careglio
    Debora Escudero Careglio 2 months ago +2

    But in many places the boss is the gossipy one! This talk is no good.

  • Elmo
    Elmo 3 months ago +1

    My number one rule is not to talk bad about anyone and to avoid listening to people who talk bad about others to me because I’m 100% sure those bad mouthing others to me are bad mouthing me to others.

  • JayPMusic
    JayPMusic 3 months ago +1

    If an employer treats some staff differently than others and refuses to see their wrong in this, then they themselves have to take full responsibility for creating a toxic work environment, which left unchecked will ultimately ruin their own company. This unsurprisingly will negatively impact their employees mental and physical health, even that of some of their strongest and most loyal employees!

    MAI MAI 3 months ago +1

    He talks about backbiting which was mentioned by god and extremely prohibited in Islam and this was mentioned clearly in our Qura'an...its not a new information he just start talking about the negative impact about it whereas our prophet Mohammad had talked about the same before 1400 years

  • mark kenney
    mark kenney 3 months ago +1

    I need to meet this gentleman. Any contact information?

    JANKBOMB 3 months ago +2

    Doesn't matter the age. It's all about how well our teams can handle news, changes and criticism. Ego is a huge factor in this.

  • T C
    T C 3 months ago +1

    I disagree with this. A manager could implement this, but the everyone will continue to gossip and not tell the manager

  • thenebbishroute
    thenebbishroute 3 months ago +2

    Good info, but the problem at my workplace is not backbiting. It's lack of leadership and respect.

  • B Smith
    B Smith 4 months ago +1

    I so get this

  • Vipul Arora
    Vipul Arora 4 months ago +1

    Really loved that bit at 2:50. I got this friend who uses this software called yoursafehub in his company and he says it's really effective tackling this issue.

  • Curious Communicator
    Curious Communicator 4 months ago +2

    Most breakdowns in relationships are caused from unrealistic expectations and poor communication!

  • D Uni
    D Uni 4 months ago +7

    Well, my direct manager literally does everything this guy says!

  • S. Lynn
    S. Lynn 4 months ago +1

    Thanks that's such a wonderful idea I only wish the corporation I work for would have something like that I don't see it happening but it's a wonderful wonderful idea

  • Thandiwe Tshabalala
    Thandiwe Tshabalala 4 months ago +1

    A friend brought me here, this is good.

  • Teffi Club
    Teffi Club 4 months ago +1

    The speaker didn't finish the story about Socrates. The end is ' and this is how Socrates never learned that his wife was cheating on him.'

  • Rabecca Mhandire
    Rabecca Mhandire 4 months ago +3

    Mmmm wait a minute sir, what if you have blatant bullying ,favouritism and corruption how do you deal with a total lack of tranparency. Are you suggesting that people in such environments bury their heads in the sand and play nice? I am sure you are referring to ideal situations not the other extreme.

  • Jasmine Orchard
    Jasmine Orchard 4 months ago

    Up Next:
    How to keep employees motivated while working with cesspool demanding diva clients.

  • J . M
    J . M 5 months ago

    7:20 what does he refer to by "fractionation"?? I imagine he means some process in group dynamics, but I'm curious about the particular terminology.

    • David Ray Duncan
      David Ray Duncan 5 months ago +1

      I believe he means dividing people into fractions--parts of the whole--instead of working together as one.

  • Ranjit Kumar
    Ranjit Kumar 5 months ago

    Content was nothing new and basic common sense ! Add to that ... this guy should do another TED TALK on ' The Art to speak in the most boring way !" ... he's a natural on that topic !

    • Ranjit Kumar
      Ranjit Kumar 5 months ago

      Dear Glenn Rolfsen, At the very ouset, kindly allow me extend my apologies in case I have sounded too harsh and may or may not have affected your ego in your subconscious mind.

      However, it does not change the fact that your talk was absolutely mediocre. Its the kind of content and talk that one would give school children. Moreover, the example you cited is easily available all over the internet. There is nothing unique about it.

      When you are invited to talk at such a prestigious platform, please do your research. This was more like some semi-philosophy theoretical lecture, without any solid ground except your words.

      In short, it was a lazy effort.

      When you give a lecture as a so called "expert" in the field you need to provide the audience with justified research findings and statistics with authentic & credible sources.

      A) Research findings on the effects of Backbiting ? What are the possible causes ?

      B) How does it affect people professionally & personally ? ( Statistical findings, etc )

      C) What are the solutions for this ? (Practical solutions with rationale)

      D) What are the results of such a solution ? (Proper Statistics ).

      You mentioned "in the air" that 250 companies have benefited from this solution of yours. Well, when you make such a big claim on such a big platform like TED, then you need to justify it with clear endorsements and credible researched statistics.

      Otherwise, it just a theory on paper. And if you honestly believe that the solution you suggested REALLY changes the workplace, then Im afraid, you are probably living in a comic book world.

      At the most, such a solution could work in a workplace that has very less employees. And that too, it is impossible for it to sustain itself for a long period of time.

      For this solution to work, every employee must be a 100% good human being. Although I wish that were true, yuo and I both know that its a pure myth !

      When you speak on a topic, you need to exude a certain level of authority. The sad way, you kept fumbling and checking on your cue cards clearly showed that you were not totally prepared.

      A topic such as this where you are being perceived as an authority by the listeners, needs to come from the heart. If you are an expert on the topic, one does not need cue cards. You had SLIDES + a Teleprompter with you. So, Why also use Cue cards ???

      Moreover, when you talk, you really need to engage the audience in an interesting & interactive manner. Your style of talking was genuinely boring & one-dimensional.

      So please Sir, do not insult such a powerful platform & its listeners by doing such lazy & weak presentations.

      On such a topic, please learn the art of engaging an audience with genuine TRUE LIFE examples that they can relate with. Say it in an interesting & interactive manner which makes EACH listener feel that you are talking ONLY to them. And support EVERY content you have with credible research statistics.

      If you are willing to accept this reply to you without any ego and see this as constructive criticism, it would be great.

      If not, its ok too. Like you rightly, said, we are not here to live up to each other's expectations.

      But when you go up that prestigious stage, you have that responsibility to provide the audience with good & credible content which is not a waste of time and sadly sir, this time you did not live up to that expectation.

      But Im sure that the next time, you'll change that & rock the stage !

      P.S : Im not sending you a prayer .... but I'd suggest that you refer to APOLLO ROBBINS (The Art of deception ) on TED TALK. It would teach you how to structure & present yourself when you go up on such a prestigious stage the next time around.

      God Bless - RANJIT KUMAR

  • Raven Black
    Raven Black 5 months ago +1

    Awesome speech. I love the triple filter test. Gossiping is too common and is a form of social terrorism. The only time negative information is beneficial is if it's regarding something truly horrible and can be useful in knowing about it to gain awareness. Other then that, most gossiping is nitpicking and trying to spread negative opinion about someone else.

  • Paradise
    Paradise 5 months ago

    One problem is our desks are full, so we don’t have time for things like traditional training for new people and specific time isn’t made for it. We keep getting more work due to top management not understanding the time needed for our tasks and doesn’t believe the input on that so wants to time each task like we’re McDonalds. Then the new people can be too pushy about it and won’t wait till the time is right. Then they put off their seasoned co- workers and complain about it. As a new employee I accepted the environment the way it was and lasted a long time. Training is worth a lot because it pays bills so you have to be considerate about the trainers time. There’s only so much time...time towards training is time away from expectations on you. Until proper time is allotted you have to be savvy enough to survive. Backstabbing, tattling, troublemaking is all deflection from inability to do job. I surprisingly found women were much more trustworthy, and that the men were tattlers, liars, troublemakers, and petty...but our org may not be attracting good people. They don’t last.

    • glenn rolfsen
      glenn rolfsen 5 months ago

      Three that "Paradise"... Wish I could do something that would enabled you to do something different in this matter...
      Warmly Glenn

  • Carolyn Miller
    Carolyn Miller 5 months ago +3

    This presentation is very relatable and applicable in many settings. I have shown your video to nursing students during conversations about professionalism and leadership. Thank you for uploading to RUclip, Glenn!

  • Mary Motherofgod
    Mary Motherofgod 6 months ago


    • glenn rolfsen
      glenn rolfsen 5 months ago

      It is the easiest way right.. ?

  • M.A. Ross
    M.A. Ross 6 months ago +1

    Platitudes do nothing but feed egos

  • Dragons Rage
    Dragons Rage 6 months ago

    @7:25 So we are not going to talk about that bug?

    • glenn rolfsen
      glenn rolfsen 6 months ago +3

      Yes, you are right, this is not dealing or working on what the bug is, but in 8 minutes - this is my message - I would start with this, and then talk about the " Bug".. In opposite of my normal work as a therapist...

  • KaityCameleon Shea
    KaityCameleon Shea 6 months ago +2

    Our whole government in a nutshell

  • m
    m 6 months ago +1

    Excellent insight - thank you SO much :) I want to try your idea. I hope & pray people will be kinder & respectful toward with each other..

  • Nancy In the garden
    Nancy In the garden 6 months ago

    Somebody once told me that when someone is taking about someone else it’s a great defuser to point out something you see positive about the talked about person. Saying, “Oh but she is a real nice dresser, she is a great cook she is fun to work with, etc. thus throws the whole conversation into nowhere and if they keep going, I simply say, I like her. I don’t have a problem with her work, she’s funny .....
    It takes practice or change the conversation to the person talking. Say I don’t want to talk about this or them how was your weekend how was your date I made a really good dinner on Sunday, my kids are staring softball practice how am I going to juggle 2 nights s week and Sat mornings

    • glenn rolfsen
      glenn rolfsen 6 months ago

      If you cannot do anything, be aware, if you can do something, do it, and most of all - be aware of the difference in what can you do - what not... You are not married to your job - Right? Warmly Glenn

  • Samantha Spitzer
    Samantha Spitzer 6 months ago +1


  • Pat Swert
    Pat Swert 7 months ago

    woman are the worst back biters

    • Doug N
      Doug N 24 days ago

      I've dealt with both male and female toxics. I'd say it's about equal.

    • CC B
      CC B 6 months ago


  • Jasuda Rai
    Jasuda Rai 7 months ago +10

    Love this video. If by grace if I happen to set up my own business I will add this in my office clause. No backbiting.

  • Ginger
    Ginger 7 months ago +123

    I have yet to find a work place that has any maturity level above high school. I have yet to work for a boss that not only allows it but is blinded by the people who are bullies and drag morale down... not to mention who aren’t even capable of doing their job. 🤷🏼‍♀️

    • Her Right There
      Her Right There Month ago

      Jesse Gonzales oh

    • UbuntoO
      UbuntoO Month ago +1

      Whoa whoa whoa.
      You missed his whole point.
      You’re all back biting or dismissing what he’s teaching you so you can keep back biting because it makes you feel better bout yourself.
      Stop it.
      Loved this talk! Inspiring!

    • Jesse Gonzales
      Jesse Gonzales 3 months ago +3

      Hate to tell you this but people don't actually grow up past 18. They just get better at acting different. We're all animals being guided by a weak gps that is our Consciousness. .

    • imdjc4
      imdjc4 4 months ago +4

      Exactly Ginger. A BIG reason why I took a job as a truck driver later in life. I don't understand why management don't try to eliminate it....for the very reasons mentioned at 7:00.

  • Grit Heart
    Grit Heart 7 months ago

    Great ideas to deal with difficult people!

  • menna salem
    menna salem 7 months ago

    Iam proud that my religion taught me this and happier that people outside of it came across it without having to believe in the same faith ❤

  • Perry Robles
    Perry Robles 7 months ago +1


    It’s a coping mechanism.

  • Maria Rose
    Maria Rose 8 months ago

    I just did this yesterday! I am trying to change it now that I am aware of it. I realized that one woman has latched onto me & all she does is complain about others and it has rubbed off. Nothing out of her mouth is good. Also, Brene Brown said it best, when you judge others and gossip with someone you think you are forming a connection with that person, a common ground, but it does the opposite. The toxic work environment needs to change.

  • mateusz λ brelski
    mateusz λ brelski 9 months ago

    Beautiful speech, thank you

  • Jool Forue
    Jool Forue 9 months ago +2

    My boss is a Champion Back Biter!

    • Jason Nosaj
      Jason Nosaj 4 months ago

      @glenn rolfsen I just had the same thought, but you were first 😂

    • glenn rolfsen
      glenn rolfsen 9 months ago +1

      He is not the only one I am afraid... Warmly Glenn D