Do you work in a toxic workplace?

It exacts a toll.

One you may have paid.

Toxic individuals spread negativity. They sap energy, job satisfaction and morale. They change you and your behavior, if you let them.

Which of these classic reactions have you experienced? You:

  • Spend time thinking about your coworker’s rudeness;
  • Lose worktime avoiding the toxic person;
  • Take out your frustration on others.

According to a Harvard Business Review study, those exposed to toxic coworkers and managers:

  • 80% of those exposed to toxic coworkers and managers spend time worrying about the coworker’s rudeness;
  • 50% lose worktime avoiding the offender
  • 25% take out their frustration on customers.

Here’s what I wrote managers on September 14th, I’d like to hear what you think of my challenge to your leaders.

I told them, “You can’t avoid the truth.” And said not to blame their employees, even if some of them have become problems or contributed to a toxic culture. I let them know that their inaction fanned toxic fumes. And said that leaders who want to “right the ship” needs to get right themselves.

I asked them to ask themselves, when their employees voice concerns, do the employees have to fear they’ll shoot the messenger. Do they ignore things they know aren’t right?

Here’s what I suggested that leaders and managers ask themselves. What would you add to these questions:

  • How would we rate our employees’ morale on a scale of 0 to 10? What number value would employees give their morale if we asked them the same question?
  • What leads our employees to invest in our organization? What leads them to disengage or leave?
  • Do we model the behaviors we want others to follow?
  • Do we respect all employees, even those who don’t agree with us?
  • Are there supervisors and employees who bully or treat each other disrespectfully?
  • How do we make our employees feel valued?
  • Do we receive 100 percent value from our payroll dollars? If we had to establish a baseline for how fully utilized and productive our employees are, what number value would it be?
  • Are we solution-oriented or blame-focused? What would our employees say if asked?
  • What problems and flaws do we hesitate to talk about?
  • What do we have to change or improve, do more or less of, start or stop to be more effective and accountable in the future?

If you found this article useful, you’ll find additional strategies in Managing for Accountability: A Business Leader’s Toolbox, Business Experts Press, or; a sneak preview of Managing for Accountability chapter 1, and the difference accountability can make,

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3 thoughts on “The Toxic Workplace and You

  1. This is why I’m a firm believer in the “No-Asshole Rule.” That is, make sure you don’t hire them and if you do, convert them to “human-being-hood”or fire them. Because they spoil everything they come near.

  2. Susan, this is a GREAT question. I’ll work on it. There are a couple chapters in Beating the Workplace Bully that address what leaders/organizations can do to address/prevent bullying, however, this question goes deeper–educating and empowering. Thank you for a great question and topic.

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