What is a Toxic Work Environment and How to Deal With It?

Toxic work environment

We’ve all had dreadful mornings, difficult weekdays, and even frustrating months. You can usually get through a horrible morning, or a difficult week, and acquire vital insights from a poor quarter but it’s not easy to get through a toxic work environment. 

It’s even difficult to accept that you may work in a toxic environment, and possibly even more difficult to perceive it.

However, the indications are relatively common. They are, unfortunately, more common than you might assume.

What is a toxic work environment?

A toxic work environment is one in which employees struggle to perform or move up the career ladder as a result of the unpleasant environment and frequent breakdowns fostered by toxic coworkers, toxic employees, toxic bosses, or the company culture.

A toxic work environment is more of a feeling than a criterion. Employees can tell if they’re working in a toxic workplace because of their gut feeling or perhaps any physical reactions they experience.

To figure out if you’re working in a toxic work environment, ask yourself if your workplace corresponds with your value system. 

Your value system consists of your principles, which are fundamental to who you are as an individual. It’s what you base your identity, actions, and opinions on. Core beliefs are strong principles that you as a person may not compromise on.

How prevalent is a toxic work environment?

According to recent research, 70% of individuals employed in the United Kingdom claimed to be working in a toxic work environment at some point throughout their careers.

Furthermore, Metro reported in August 2021 that about a third of employees are abandoning their employment owing to toxic workplace cultures.

4 signs of a toxic work environment

1. Poor leadership

There’s a reason why the adage goes, “You don’t leave a job, you leave a bad boss.” Poor leadership has the potential to pervade every aspect of a company, and it frequently does.

A toxic boss is often the consequence of their toxic boss and so on. Generally, the overall work environment is toxic because of the generational structure of bad leadership that keeps coming down the line.

Toxic bosses can come in a number of disguises. You can work under a control freak who continuously rectifies you, criticizes your judgments, and eventually prevents you from doing your work.

You can have the victim card employer, who is always ready to blame others for their faults or you might be unfortunate enough to have the not so decent employer, who calls at all hours of the day and night, keeps forgetting how to spell your name, and has no idea what you do.

Bad leadership is a big red flag of a toxic work environment. The way a leader behaves is crucial. It establishes the tone for how people conduct themselves at work.

2. Poor communication

Transparent, proactive communication thrives in a healthy environment. Recognizing the responsibilities, objectives, opinions, and values outlined before is essential for effective communication. Knowing every individual’s position and hierarchy assists in achieving greater results.

Communication is never a two-way road in a toxic workplace. It is used to establish authority or to engage in a fight for power. It might be aggressive, passive, or passive-aggressive.

Therefore, many workplace issues are caused by inadequate, confused, or dispersed communication. One of the core reasons for toxic organizations—or good organizations running toxically—is a lack of communication.

Employees frequently experience bewilderment and a lack of direction as a result of poor communication. Difficulties occur and build from here, frequently leading to all of the other issues.

3. You feel sick because of your gut reactions

Sure, it sounds superficial, but it’s critical to pay attention to what your gut is telling you.

Your gut reaction is instinctive, but it’s also a sense that something isn’t quite right now. Whether the manner you are spoken to or the fact that you are not involved.

When you get that horrible sensation, walk, get some clean air, and remove the emotions by looking at both sides of the problem. You may be dealing with a toxic work environment if you’re still feeling queasy or if you have that unpleasant feeling frequently.

4. Toxic coworkers or employees

The absence of respect in a workplace was found to be the single best predictor of how employees viewed a toxic corporate culture in earlier studies. Harsh competition among employees or backstabbing behavior has contributed to a toxic workplace.

Research has proved that poor teamwork and collaboration were mentioned in nearly 10% of employee reviews, however, this did not have a significant influence on employee turnover.

On the contrary, employees who said their office was toxic or that coworkers frequently stabbed one another in the back were associated with low cultural ratings and higher levels of turnover. 

Additionally, toxic employees can be the face of abusive management, which includes harassment, discrimination, and intolerance. A workplace itself might not be toxic but it’s generally the people that make it toxic. 

How to deal with a toxic work environment?

It can be tough to deal with a toxic workplace but you can take several steps to help maintain your mental health and detoxify your workplace. Here is our advice:

Advice #1: Address the toxic people

Most social issues should be resolved without any interference. Having a decent candid chat with the people who are harming you is usually an ideal first move. However, instead of emphasizing how the behavior of toxic people makes you feel, consider the negative implications of their acts on the environment or the company culture.

If a toxic coworker is frequently dismissing your views during group meetings, for instance, you may approach them and explain, “I appreciate you wanting to provide your input, but frequent interruptions make it very hard for me to get my thoughts across to the group.”

Hopefully, politely confronting them will make them realize that you are not going to put up to such toxic behavior.

Advice #2: Look for like-minded supporters

If you work in a toxic workplace, you’re unlikely to get along with toxic people around you. Developing a supportive relationship with pleasant and like-minded coworkers, on the other hand, might help you lift your spirits and feel less alone.

This is the group with whom you may engage and empathize, which is critical when stress disclosure has been demonstrated to be a coping method. Furthermore, healthy social ties help to retain and motivate employee productivity.

Advice #3: Give yourself some time

Of course, you should always find ways to unwind by doing something you appreciate when you sign off. This could occur as a result of several self-care routines, activities, or simply giving oneself the room to turn everything off and rest.

This not only aids in the improvement of your work-life balance but also allows you to accomplish something completely unrelated to your current worries. Always strive for your happiness.

Advice #4: Leave the toxic workplace

If all else fails, get out. It’s pointless to spend 8 hours in a toxic work environment that is not just detrimental but also destructive. Your emotional and physical well-being are priceless. It is preferable to depart early than to risk irreparable psychological and physical problems.

Free yourself from a toxic work environment

Recognizing the indicators of a toxic workplace and how to deal with them will enable you to make progress on your grounds and at your own pace, ensuring that your next job is one you like and your work environment is close to being perfect.

Toxic workplaces are more prevalent than ever before. It induces emotional and physical stress on workers and costs businesses money owing to decreased productivity and sick leave, whether it is overt or discreet.

To overcome this, we need a level mind, as well as a supportive atmosphere outside of the office. While we may not be able to improve an entire firm as individuals, we can educate ourselves to watch our backs and protect our well-being.

Chanty team

Chanty is a team collaboration hub with unlimited searchable message history. Chanty offers team communication, audio calling, video conferencing and task management with the help of the Kanban board.

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