Offices are places where a person spends at least a third of their entire day.
As far as normal human needs go, people thrive in an environment that is positive and encouraging. Be it their home, office, gym, school, or any place else that is an important part of their lives.
But we see a stressed, frustrated, agitated and in severe cases, someone with mental health issues, we indiscriminately conclude it must be something wrong at one of these important places.
And more times than not, it turns out to be true.
Furthermore, often the company is not aware of its own toxic culture, which can be even more dangerous for its employees because no corrective measures can be expected.
If you too are introspecting about your company’s culture, here are some tell-tale signs that point to an unhealthy working environment.
The Behavioral Issues
When we say that every company and its employees are unique in their own ways, it is also true for its culture.
Every employee is a building block, and each individual behavior builds the workplace environment. For identifying the toxic habits of your people, pay attention to the following things.
- Is there a gossiping habit or cliques?
- Is a manager, leader, or worker is displaying aggressive behavior?
- Are your employees appreciated or criticized for not being “workaholic”?
- Is there a communication gap which is becoming a cause of stress for people?
- Is there a dictatorial management culture that does not support two-way communication?
- Are there unsafe working conditions or do employees feel threatened?
- Is there extreme absenteeism due to any reason?
- Is there favoritism or nepotism?
If you see any of these issues or other similar ones, remember to address them immediately.
The Wrong Decisions That Lead to Toxic Work Culture
1] You dismiss the impact of any decision on your employees as a minor issue
While taking significant company decisions, you put the comfort of your employees at the lowest priority. For instance, if you are reviewing custom eLearning companies for selecting a training course for your people, you might put the cost of the course as a more important factor for its selection than whether or not it is compatible for your trainees.
In such a work environment, the top management often doesn’t believe in building strong relations with their employees, and thus, they are likely to lack compassion.
2] You do not hire employees who believe in the same values
During the hiring of employees, if you get attracted to the talent and experience of the employees but know that the candidate holds different beliefs and values than your company, then you are preparing a recipe of disaster.
Often times, hiring managers end up saying “yes” to a lot of things to the interviewee, which later turn out to be false or unrealistic. In such cases, it may lead to an extended conflict at later stages.
Either the employee works in an unsatisfactory environment, or you do not agree with their ways of working, and this creates a stressful situation at work.
3] If you only focus on the bad and never the good
This is one mistake that many workplaces are plagued with, around the world.
When a new employee joins your team, they are emphatic and enthusiastic to present their ideas and do something innovative every day. But soon, their excitement is taken for their nature and their “extra efforts” becomes normalcy and you fail to appreciate their work with reinforcements or even positive feedback.
However, this apathetic situation turns around whenever the same employees make a mistake. By putting your focus solely on the things they are doing wrong and correcting their way, you stifle the initial enthusiasm in them.
For instance, if an employee has spent time outside of their working hours to complete a and present a report for you, but if the client does not like it, you immediately put them up for review and training. While opting for soft skills and Presentation Training for your employees is a good practice, the circumstances and your behavior towards them might kill the morale of your employees.
After that, it doesn’t take long for them to become indifferent as well. “Going the extra mile” seems only worth when you are being appreciated for it.
If you belong to any of these categories of higher hierarchy, you know what is going wrong in your workplace and you should mend your ways before you end up losing all the good employees. After all, being a leader, it is your responsibility to support your team.
Toxicity in workplaces is common but too dangerous when gone unchecked. So keep an eye out and put an end to any kind of negativity you might come across.