Whenever a boss acts like a dictator – shutting down, embarrassing, or firing anyone who dares to challenge the status quo – you’ve got a toxic workplace problem. And that’s not just because of the boss’ bad behaviour, but because that behaviour creates an environment in which everyone is scared, intimidated and often willing to throw their colleagues under the bus, just to stay on the good side of such bosses.
Toxic company culture will erode an organization by paralyzing its workforce, diminishing its productivity and stifling creativity and innovation. Now more than ever business leaders need to be addressing issues of workplace toxicity.
It makes the difference in retaining good staff and also whether your company fails or succeeds. Employees aren’t afraid to jump ship when faced with a toxic workplace—and it’s usually your high performers who will go first.
The biggest concern for any organization should be when their most passionate people become quiet.
10 Signs Your Workplace Culture is Toxic
- Company core values do not serve as the basis for how the organization functions.
- Employee suggestions are discarded. People are afraid to give honest feedback.
- Micromanaging – Little to no autonomy is given to employees in performing their jobs.
- Blaming and punishment from management is the norm.
- Excessive absenteeism, illness and high employee turn over.
- Overworking is a badge of honour and is expected.
- Little or strained interaction between employees and management.
- Gossiping and/or social cliques.
- Favouritism and office politics.
- Aggressive or bullying behaviour.
What’s the cure for a toxic work culture?
While toxic work cultures are the end result of many factors, it’s generally a combination of poor leadership and individuals who perpetuate the culture. It starts with those at the top. Leaders must show – Respect, Integrity, Authenticity, Appreciation, Empathy and Trust.
Toxicity in the workplace is costly. Unhappy or disengaged employees cost companies billions of dollars each year in lost revenues, settlements and other damages. Once you identify the major problems by gathering information.
Develop a plan and follow through. It may mean training, moving or simply getting rid of bad bosses who are the root cause of toxicity in the workplace. Show employees, you care and are committed to improving their workplace environment. Your employees can be your greatest asset but it all depends on how you treat them.