Top 10 Signs You’re in a Toxic Work Environment

You can’t ignore the signs. The guy who bad-mouths co-workers behind their backs. The boss who takes credit for everyone else’s ideas. The colleague who’s taken complaining to an art form.

These employees create a work culture where a sense of teamwork or community is eroding. It’s a place where worker frustration and conflict is common, morale is low and getting worse.

By starting now to identify the warning signs of a toxic work environment, smart company leaders (like you!) can begin to develop strategies to correct potentially hazardous results.

Here are top 10 things to watch for in your business:

  • Your company has developed a CYA (“cover your a**”) culture.
  • Employees don’t share information with one another. Instead, they work in silos.
  • Recognition, feedback and expectation discussions are scarce.
  • The rumor mill is the most exciting thing going on at work.
  • Widespread lack of respect for company leadership – and for the company in general.
  • The best and brightest are leaving.
  • Employees can’t articulate the value of what they do.
  • Leaders hoard information.
  • Team meetings are viewed as a waste of time.
  • Abusive behavior and bullying is ignored and allowed to continue.

In today’s economy, leaders can’t afford to ignore the detrimental impact of a toxic work environment. Employees need to know how to deal with toxic employees so that they do not affect team morale or productivity.  Here are a few tips for how to shut the bad behavior down and send a clear message that it is not tolerated:

  1. Collaboratively set clear expectations with your team on how to work together.
  2. Let your team define and agree on what respect and a professional working environment look like.
  3. Identify how team members will hold each other accountable for creating a respectful environment.
  4. As a team, discuss and practice what would be an appropriate way to bring up an issue.
  5. If a team member continually ignores the established team agreement, you now have a performance problem to address. Deal with it quickly in order to send a clear message to the rest of the team that disrespectful behavior is not acceptable.
  6. Remember that when you see toxic behavior and don’t speak up, silence signals acceptance.

At Powers Resource Center we know how quickly a toxic work environment can derail team results and morale, and we have programs designed to help turn this behavior around and rebuild team trust. Connect with us today to discuss opportunities to get rid of the toxic behavior and build a team you can be proud of.

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