Some of us have gotten our fair share of what a toxic work environment looks like. In most cases, it is never a funny experience. And in more severe cases, as an employee, you may find it hard to put yourself together to attend to your job responsibilities. It can be as sickening as that!
While some employees tend to endure such a situation it is not advisable for anyone as it can gradually affect you mentally, emotionally, physically, psychologically, and otherwise. That said, we will discuss what a toxic work environment is so you can get a clearer picture of when to leave if you are in one already.
So, without much further ado, let’s get started!
What is a Toxic Work Environment?
A toxic work environment is a workplace that is well known for its significant toxicity. In other words, it is a place where conflict and personal battles often reign over productivity. More often than not, toxic employers and toxic employees are the head factors that breed toxic workplaces.
When an employee or employer is motivated by personal gain which may include fame, power, money, or special position they may likely use unethical, mean-spirited, and sometimes illicit means to manipulate, exploit, and annoy those around them. These motives help them to divert attention away from their misdeeds and performance shortfalls.
How To Cope With A Toxic Work Environment
Coping with a toxic work environment can be very challenging and unbearable but the truth is that it is possible as long as you understand who you truly are. One of the most dominant traits you will find in any toxic workplace is hearsay, dictatorial leadership, conspiracy, and a high level of negativity.
When you are faced with this daily it can affect your self-esteem. Hence drastically reducing your productivity. However, it is very important that we learn to separate the negativity we are thrown at daily from the reality of who we truly are. That way, the hate won’t get to you instead you would level up your game to achieve more.
Signs of a Toxic Work Environment
Here are some typical signs of a toxic work environment and if you notice any of these it is high time you take your leave:
1. Dismissive of Employee Ideas
A toxic work environment prohibits its employees from offering their ideas, input, creativity, or strengths to the overall company strategy because they are seen as nothing more than merely worker bees who have no say in the company’s productivity.
Managers dismiss the value of their people and employees are seen as cogs rather than worthy colleagues and business partners in producing excellence. This can drain the life, energy, and motivation straight out of the workers or employees as they wouldn’t find joy and fulfillment in what they do.
2. Dictatorial Manager
Another noticeable sign of a toxic work environment is when employees try to avoid their manager at all times. This is usually deeper than it seems. When employees act like this it means that they fear or loathe their manager and facing him or her during the day probably means bad news because the outcome is never positive.
3. Backstabbing, Criticizing, and Blaming
In a toxic environment, the hate can range from backstabbing to criticizing to blaming. Lack of trust and fear of the other person seems to be the theme for each day.
While constructive criticism is always welcome in an organization, constantly having to hear how poorly you have performed can instill a lack of trust in one’s potential and can destroy your self-esteem.
4. Gossiping and Spreading Rumors
If the means of communication in the organization is gossip, then it’s not a healthy practice and this collaborates with the above point that nobody can be trusted.
5. Lack of Oneness amongst Members
This can be most likely seen in an organization where there is no oneness of mind amongst the members. Unfortunately, such an unhealthy practice can result in detrimental effects on the organization.
If work and responsibility are not carried forward by the concerned person, it can lead to a spiraling effect of not achieving the company’s long-term goals and no company or organization wants to experience such.
6. Fighting only for Personal Gains
At some point, we would all need to look beyond ourselves and work for something greater than ourselves. If everyone is aiming to achieve their interests and goals then it would in no way help achieve the greater agenda for which the organization was established.
7. Poor Communication
Do you feel like you’re left behind regarding important information about the company and your contributive efforts? A pervasive lack of communication characterizes most toxic workplaces.
In a toxic work environment, you may likely get little to no feedback about your performance, and when you do, it’s either negative or harsh — not the constructive type to make you perform better.
8. You’re told to feel “Lucky for Having the Job”
If you’ve ever heard this statement from your boss or HR, it’s a major red flag. The company is trying to scare you into staying in a low-ranking position by threatening you with the loss of your job. This is a common strategy used by bullies and organizations who want to control the behaviors of their employees.
How Can We Fix A Toxic Work Environment
Here are helpful tips on how you can fix a toxic work environment:
1. Focus on Solutions and not Complaints
Nothing is more toxic and contagious than employees complaining. The best thing to do to fix a toxic environment is to find solutions rather than complaining about the situation.
Whether you have a strict boss, long and strenuous working hours, bad mouth colleagues, or you hate the dress code politics, complaining about them shows how defeated you are rather than feeling empowered by the company culture.
2. Encourage Responsibility
Instead of letting laziness slide, be proactive and try these tips to promote responsibility in the workplace. If you’re taking steps to improve the culture but are still seeing negative behavior in an employee, more serious action like a write-up or firing can be taken.
3. Foster Positive Relationships among Employees
The animosity between employees is a key ingredient of a toxic culture. Of course, your employees won’t necessarily be best friends. But at least there should be an atmosphere of love and positive vibes in the company.
All employees should be expected to complete their job responsibilities and courteously collaborate with staff and customers. To get the ball rolling, try a bunch of fun and unique team-building activities to see how well they get with each other.
4. Define Your Standard – And Stay Guided
A critical component of any company’s success comes from outlining a purpose and vision. While most organizations have mission statements, many have taken a step further to define the values of the company’s culture.
5. Coach Your Problem Employees
Probably every office has at least one person that the whole company points to as “the problem.” This doesn’t come from a mentality of blame, but rather from acknowledging that a person with a negative attitude and poor work ethic truly does affect daily operations and stunts company growth.
6. Focus On Exceeding Expectations
Lastly, a great way to boost morale among the whole company is to implement a focus on exceeding expectations for everyone you come across during your day. Everyone including employees and employers should have the emphasis of going the extra step.
Not only is this good for business, but in doing so, it provides consistent positive exchanges for everyone involved. These shared experiences make everyone, customers and employees alike, feel like they are a part of something important and meaningful.
Is it Worth Working in a Toxic Work Environment?
Never! There are other jobs out there that pay money and provide huge benefits. It may seem daunting to have to go out and find a different job, but in the end, your mental health and well-being are worth getting out of a toxic environment and finding somewhere that treats you better and makes you feel comfortable.
How do I deal with a Toxic Workplace?
Honestly, this can be a difficult one to answer in detail. To deal with a toxic workplace you need to be able to work on your mental strength. Here are three major things you should do to deal with a toxic workplace:
- Don’t let petty opinions and comments rob you of your peace
- Don’t let people define you or tell you who you are
- Do your job and know that you do a good job.
Toxic people are not worth dealing with and especially not worth being friends with. Focus on you. Stand guard at the entrance of your mind. You control you and no one can intimidate you without your consent. Begin a daily meditation practice to calm your mind and focus on the task at hand can also give you an edge over the toxicity.
To sum up, nearly every employee has experienced a toxic work environment and the truth is that sometimes it can be hard to leave or permanently get rid of toxic colleagues, employers, and workplaces overall.
However, you must prioritize your well-being and mental health just in case you feel that the negativity from others is robbing you of your productivity and depriving you of peace of mind as well as degrading your person.
While leaving a toxic work environment can seem impossible it can be helpful to enable you to achieve more in the outside world. Have you ever had to leave a toxic job? Share your experience in the comment section. Thank you for reading!