Typical Signs of Toxic Work Environment
Workplace environment defines how team members interact with each other, make decisions, and behave in the office. Certainly, it has an essential impact on how you get your work done and how you feel every working day.
An effective and positive workplace culture leads to engaged and happy employees and skyrocketing productivity levels. However, the outlook isn’t so rosy in case you are stuck in a toxic work environment.
What does it mean? According to the authoritative Harvard Business School study, nearly half of workers who experienced incivility in the workplace reduced their effort and made a choice to spend less time at work. Almost 40% of them intentionally decreased the quality of their work.
There can be so many impacts on the office, which can lead to negative consequences. Sometimes, workplace culture can make people irritable even when working remotely at home.
Unfavorable workplace culture is like a parasite badly affecting employee morale and mental health. What are the signs of a toxic workplace? What should we do if we work in a toxic environment? Finally, how to literally survive in a toxic work culture? Let’s dig into what you need to know.
How a toxic work environment affects your mental health?
Toxic workplace environments are bad not only for employees but also for their families and friends. Their evenings, weekends, or holidays can be often consumed with anger, anxiety, or exasperation resulting from a toxic culture.
Toxic people destroy goodwill, self-esteem, motivation, and relationships.
What Are the Signs of a Toxic Workplace?
In order to define what causes a toxic and bad work environment, it worth carefully studying the main signs that can indicate a hostile and toxic office culture.
Team members in toxic cultures don’t want to talk to each other. There is no value for them in building relationships, meeting to discuss goals, or ensuring that expectations are clearly set. They just rely on chats, emails, or other communication methods that avoid personal interaction.
They may get no feedback about their performance, and when they do, it’s only negative and harsh. This is not a constructive communication style. A manager or team members will not take credit for their accomplishments even if they are doing the work of two or three people.
If you have ever heard the phrase “Lucky, you have a job!” from your manager, then this is a major red flag. The scare tactic is a means of threatening individuals into staying in a marginalized position. This is symptomatic of a company that thrives on bullying behavior and control.
The power of gossips
When colleagues don’t want to communicate, it’s often because when they do, they are gossiping about each other in corridors, in the kitchen, or outside the office. Off-site talks typically happen when workers are saying things about others that they would never tell them directly.
When you walk into work and everyone around you is unhappy, then you may be trapped in a hostile environment. This kind of office culture has no enthusiasm; no people come in with smiles on their faces. A high turnover rate among team members means that people are fleeing quickly because of their unhappiness and poor morale at the office.
If your daily meetings look like a waste of time, inevitably blowing up into disorganized chaos, this is also a sign of toxic environment characteristics in the office.
Toxic workplaces are full of arbitrary deadlines, confusion, and lack of focus. New policies or regulations are constantly added. These are the symptoms of a larger problem stemming predominantly from poor leadership.
A tyrannical boss
Tyrannical bosses always try to control every move of their employees who feel as if they are just waiting to pounce on them for messing up. Toxic managers usually feel as if their way is always the right way and seem unwilling to listen to others. Such a boss loves wielding his/her power and shows others that he/she is in charge.
Lack of growth
If you have approached HR or management regarding a lack of recognition and growth opportunities (for example, raises, promotions, and challenging assignments), it may be time to leave.
How to Get Out of a Toxic Work Environment?
It is not always possible to get an immediate outing. Therefore, here are some tips to improve the situation while you devise an exit strategy.
What should be done?
- Find support and initiate a circle of confidants within the office or externally through a peer community or professional association.
- Create a positive workspace. Surround yourself with smart quotes, books, images, and colors that bring happiness.
- Have daily lunch breaks and try to avoid answering emails after work hours or working on the weekend.
- Let the right solutions win. Thinking about your terrible workplace keeps you in a pessimistic mindset, preventing you from seeing solutions.
- Manage your self-talk, reminding yourself that any situation is temporary.
- Limit time with destructive people or colleagues who gossip.
- Document inappropriate or abusive behavior so you can report it if need be.
- Try to revisit your values and what you stand for outside of your job title.
- Add creativity to the toxic elements of your job by changing supervisors, delegating, or switching teams.
- Seek a sense of mastery and satisfaction from another outlet, for example, from a productive hobby.
- Focus on your next steps and finding something better.
Doesn’t work? Perhaps, it is time to hit the road
The tips mentioned above should help you avoid getting too weighed down by a negative and unhealthy work environment.
However, remember that depending on your level of seniority, there’s only so much you can do. Do not try to single-handedly repair everything that’s broken.
If these steps do not work for improving your situation, it’s probably time to jump your company and find a team and an environment that’s a better fit for you.
Do not be afraid of feeling daunting or little guilt-inducing. Your life is too short to dread your work every single day. Especially when work stress can have such massive effects on your mental health and personal life.