The environment and the culture of a workplace often set the tone of the company’s output.
It is no surprise to us that humans thrive with positive reinforcement and criticism that helps them grow. Any workplace that lacks a positive environment is doomed from the very beginning.
The toxic environment often leads to employees being unhappy and being less dedicated to their work. In such an environment, you cannot expect any positive outcomes from the employees.
Here are some signs of a toxic culture and tips to make the environment better.
1. Bad Leadership
There is an old saying, “You don’t leave a job, you leave a bad boss,” for a reason. Bad leadership can get into any organization or company and it weakens every person working there.
Sometimes a bad boss is a reflection (or whatever you say) of his/her boss—and so on. It is the cycle that affects the overall workplace and makes it toxic (very toxic) in a matter of a few weeks or maybe months.
Bad bosses are of different types, here are a few:
The micromanager—who constantly corrects you, disallows you to do your job, don’t respect your decisions and actions.
Blame-Gamer—this one is mostly seen in a company at least once, who quickly pass their mistakes to someone else but not themselves.
No Respect—who always busy emailing you and highlighting your mistakes and never appreciates, doesn’t even know how to spell your name, don’t aware of what you do and the list goes on.
The point is, what to do about this? Bad leadership is the sign of a toxic workplace environment if you have no recourse. If you have an HR department—or the bad boss got a good boss—you can try discussing your problems with him.
Often the hierarchy in the company has weirdly divided the office, the management is unaware of their employee’s needs and who they are.
All they focus on is work. The employees are not able to communicate with their bosses as to what they need, this loophole in communication often produces unwanted results.
A lack of connection also disconnects the employees from important decisions. No feedback is given to people on the kind of work they are doing.
Weekly meetups of the whole office or an official online platform like an employee handbook is necessary so that every employee can stay up to date. In-person meetings are effective but not very practical for enterprises.
To create collaboration in the workplace for large businesses and workplaces, employers can use an online employee handbook that will have all the updated info about workplace policies, performance reviews, and constructive criticism. Make sure that the HR department is also approachable by all employees.
3. Low Morale And Enthusiasm
This problem exists in many workplaces, even those that give the impression of being positive. It is natural to get bored with work and not feel motivated every day but if this is the case every day then it sure is a red flag.
People aren’t happy and everybody hates their job. This leads to a very sad and gloomy vibe in the whole office, decreasing productivity to unimaginable levels.
As an employer, what you can do to fix this environment is simple. Set daily goals and ask the HR department to conduct routine sessions to encourage employees.
Have some activities in your office that keep the employees engaged in something other than just work. Tell them what their work achieves and the result to keep encouraging them.
4. Grouping And Gossiping
Many people in an office are still living like we are in high school. One of the traits of toxic workers is that they form groups and then gossip about other people.
They don’t care how it makes others feel and they just do what they want to. Making others feel left out and being judged is one thing they love to do. Any big or small group that does this essentially ruins the environment of the whole office.
As a manager and boss what you can do is assign collaborative tasks so that people try to talk to each other and don’t form groups. These tasks may also help them become acquainted with each other and the gossiping will considerably lessen.
As an employee, try to be friendly towards others and build your own support system. Try to interact with like-minded people. Find your allies and try to avoid being part of a group that is involved in gossiping and grouping.
5. Policies Over People
As much as a business thrives with rules and regulations, if you value your policies more than you value your employees then it is easy to lose track.
Obviously, a procedure must be set in place to make sure that goals are achieved but that should never be done at the cost of your employees. But bending a rule or two sometimes will not do as much harm to you as having sad and undervalued employees would do.
As a manager, value your employees. Know that your company would be nothing without them and don’t be too hard on them. Make the environment a flexible one where they feel valued and relaxed to work. As an employee, know your place and fight for yourself and make sure that you are valued for the work you do.
As a boss, try to look at your workers as human beings, not machines, connect with them from time to time to develop long-lasting relationships.
6. No Chance To Speak Up
You would often see that there is a small meeting after a big meeting. That is where people are really talking. This toxic culture of not letting people talk about how they feel about certain policies and plans are clear red flags.
A controlling boss unwilling to listen to anyone and a manager that’s only there to please the boss are the people who are breeding this toxic culture.
As a boss, try to make sure that you don’t start controlling your employees. Sure, you pay them but the more minds in a meeting the better the results. Try to make sure that you allow all your employees to talk and ask them questions too to encourage them.
As a manager, when you see that your subordinates are hesitant to say something tries talking to them in private and then encourages them to talk in meetings. Create an environment where people are comfortable talking.
As an employee, talk to your manager if you think somethings wrong or if you have a better proposition regarding some matters.
A toxic work environment is one of the worst things that can happen to you as a worker. Similarly, if you are in the position of management this will constantly worry you, always make sure that you keep an eye out for these signs and keep providing solutions readily. A happy workplace is all we need.
Conclusion: Signs of a toxic workplace
A healthy workplace is a sign of a healthy business. If your workplace isn’t healthy enough and your employees aren’t feeling good at work—you are not gonna perform well in your industry. No matter at what scale your business is running at.
The team is one of the most important things in a company or organization. Use these six points and check if your workplace is toxic or not and eliminate the problem makers.
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Usman Raza is the co-founder of Christian Marketing Experts and marketing strategist working with various brands online, and the content marketing manager of PSD to WordPress and a packaging design company. He is devoted to helping small businesses bridge success gaps by providing in-depth, actionable advice on digital marketing, SEO, and small business growth. Follow him on Twitter @usmanintrotech.