If you look at teams that are happy, engaged, and doing their best work, they typically have one thing in common—they work in a healthy and supportive work environment. But the opposite is also true, and a toxic work culture can cause serious issues for your overall wellbeing.
A toxic work environment can be defined as any work setting where the atmosphere negatively impacts employees and causes disruption to their career growth. If you are in a toxic work environment, it is essential to identify it early on so you can take the proper steps to mitigate any damage it may cause to your mental health or workplace development.
If the checklist below sounds familiar, it may be time for a change.
Most employees say bad communication is one of the top indicators of a bad or stressful work environment. Employees feel left out when they don’t know what’s going on. They tend to fill voids with assumptions and misinformation. Communication is the root cause of bad organizations—or good organizations operating poorly. Bad communication often leads to confusion and a lack of purpose for employees.
Every team has occasional conflict or disagreements; it’s part of working collaboratively. But if those conflicts are constant—or particularly mean-spirited—it could be a red flag that the work environment has gone toxic. All that conflict can make it harder for teams to collaborate—and make it harder to move forward on team and organizational goals.
Producing results is an important part of running a sustainable business. But when those results come at the expense of the team, for example, by forcing your team to work unrealistic schedules in order to hit a quarterly goal, a sign of a toxic work culture. If you realize your culture is too results-oriented, it’s important to take steps to bring things back into balance—and make sure you’re taking care of your team as they work towards those results.
You make not look overwhelmed – and if you’re remote, your team may not see your stress, but if stress is a constant companion, it may be time to make a change.
When you or your team is scared to speak their mind or make mistakes, innovation is impossible, which can make you less competitive. Plus, if employees feel like they can’t speak up or try new things at work without the fear of repercussions, eventually, they’re going to get sick of walking on eggshells—and bring their voice and ideas elsewhere.
If you feel like you can have a conversation with your leadership about the issues you’re having and not face retaliation, have that conversation. Approach leadership candidly and explain your experience to them. This should be a conversation with the intended end goal being a mutually beneficial solution. If that’s not an option you’d even consider, then it’s time to find a way out of that toxic work environment.
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