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The Toxic Workplace

It’s Sunday night, the dread is setting in. Monday is getting closer, and you feel that anxiety of “NOT ANOTHER WEEK”. You can feel the alarm clock sounding, pulling yourself out of bed to trudge through another start to the week at a job you’ve found yourself enjoying less and less…until now, when it’s just an anxious dread. 

This feeling may mean you are dealing with a toxic workplace or perhaps a complete mismatch to where you belong…either way, it ends up being toxic. 

The Toxic Reasons

Toxicity in the workplace can and does happen due to numerous factors. The key for business owners is to identify it early and mitigate the cause before you disengage your staff, lose quality team members, and drive away business. 

Let’s look at some of the causes and how to identify and resolve. 

  • Communication is one of the MOST common complaints among employees of their employers and can quickly cause issues among happy staff. Whether it’s a lack of communication, confusing communication or sending mixed messages, the results can leave individuals on their own for filling in the gaps. 
    • The BEST solution to communication issues is to seek help from someone on the outside. Clear and appropriate communication is important, but understanding your communication style, along with the communication needs of your staff changes the game quickly and permanently. 
  • Poor leadership is another way that creates toxicity. The saying goes; “You don’t leave a job; you leave a bad boss.”. It’s true. Every single person has a leadership style, there’s no single style that is the best! To become a quality leader, you need to have self-awareness and understand your own strengths and weaknesses within leadership. 
  • Disengaged staff members are dangerous to the workplace. Considering well over 50% of US workers are disengaged at work, this is a huge problem. This is a more complicated problem overall, because “disengaged” staff is mostly created. Rarely do we hire people that are apathetic, low energy, low production, absent…so something is happening that creates that. (see above). What is dangerous about the disengaged staff however, is that they can quickly pull the rest of your staff down. This is another sign you want to get in front of early. 
  • No personal or professional development or growth initiatives. While I believe that this is not the sole responsibility of an employer, that doesn’t change the fact that aligned, connected and awesome humans LOVE the opportunity to excel! It’s true that “excelling” doesn’t look the same to all, but a stagnant environment that offers no life to it can be a quick way to lose amazing talent and happy staff. Find ways to grow, be progressive and creative, and the right people will find YOU!
  • Turnover is another giant issue that creates toxicity. Having a revolving door within your business leaves staff members feeling uncertain and lowers moral. The often unseen or lesser spoken about issue is the spiral it creates. When staff come and go it creates that momentum. The more turnover you have, the more that you will continue to have. New people will see it, feel it and become it. Getting ahead of all the mentioned reasons for toxicity listed above will help quell turnover and stabilize your business! 

Healthy Solutions

Dealing with toxicity in the workplace is difficult for both the individuals and the business owners. It can feel overwhelming, confusing, and unstoppable at times. There are solutions for stomping out the toxicity and preventing it from creating devastation moving forward. 

Here are my quick tips:

  • Assess your culture! Not what’s written on a piece of paper, ask yourself honestly…what would my staff say the culture is based on their experience.
  • Ask your staff if they would recommend a family member or a friend to work in your business. 
  • Evaluate yourself and your lead staff’s leadership. 
  • Utilizing a 3rd party system for a culture evaluation is a humble way to get honest feedback. 

Lastly, my greatest suggestion is to always seek help from the outside, a professional if you can. Fresh eyes, experience and integrity can help you as a leader or business owner to see a bigger picture and put into motion real lasting solutions. This can engage your staff and fuel a new creative path in your business! 

If you’d like to learn more about your leadership style, company wide communication needs or how to resolve conflict click here to get started!

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