Is your workplace “toxic”?


Bad bosses, crazy colleagues and low morale-they are all part of what psychologists call “toxic” workplaces. Everyone has a bad day from time to time, but the people and style in certain workplaces can make you feel scared on Monday morning and frustrated at the end of each workday.

If this describes you, you are not alone. A survey conducted in 2019 by, an online community for human resources professionals, found that nearly one-fifth of American workers had resigned in the past five years due to a bad company culture. Less than half of the interviewees agreed that their workplace was “positive and non-toxic”.More than half of people said it was negative pressure Where they work is a problem.

Psychologists and human resources consultants say that the coronavirus pandemic has forced many workers to stay at home and work remotely, which makes certain jobs more toxic. How do you know if your workplace has become toxic? What should you do?

3 reasons for poisoning in the workplace

The boss is a bastard. The psychologist Dr. Paul White has a harsh attitude towards what he calls “toxic leaders.” “These people are annoying,” White said. White is the company’s business consultant, spokesperson and co-author. Get rid of toxic workplaces: take care of yourself in an unhealthy environment. “They are manipulative, they distort the facts and praise what they did not do.”

To make matters worse, White suspects that many toxic leaders have clinical narcissism, or extreme selfishness, at the expense of others. “Everything is with they They use others for their own purposes. When a person no longer has a purpose, they leave. “White said.

Although toxic leaders may pretend to care about the goals of the organization, their motivation is only one thing: to improve their lives, whether that means paying for it or building their own resume to work better. White said these qualities are not limited to office people. Department managers and anyone with power in the organization can be toxic leaders.

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2. Your colleagues cause confusion. First of all, colleagues who often complain about too much workload or too small cubicles may feel that they can make themselves a good friend. White said, but this negative emotion may get out of control. He said: “The behavior of dysfunctional colleagues does not match reality.” “They keep blaming others for their failures. They make excuses not to take responsibility for their choices.”

What’s worse, White says, is that dysfunctional colleagues who cannot control their emotions exacerbate a toxic environment, releasing anger and frustration. They often feel that they have not obtained the privileges, so they conceal the information they need to succeed, and even lie.

3. The system is sick. Even if your boss and colleagues are kind and decent people, the organizational structure of your organization may create a harmful environment. “Lack of communication is a clear sign of a toxic work environment,” said Dr. Matthew Kerzner, a business psychologist, director of the Family Business Excellence Group Center at EisnerAmper, a major US accounting firm.

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Korzner said that senior managers often fail to articulate the company’s goals, the roles and responsibilities of employees, and then criticize employees for failing to achieve their goals. Kerzner said: “If you don’t get the information you need from your supervisor, you may end up not knowing what to focus on.” “When everyone is not rowing in the same direction, it creates a toxic environment, and eventually you will I feel I must have done something wrong.”

Kirzner said that another common problem is that employees have no way to develop their skills and feel that they are adding value to the company. “If the organization does not provide tools, leadership and training to help employees feel that they are making an impact, it may lower morale,” Kerzner said. “Employees may feel like they are spinning wheels.”

Kirzner said the coronavirus pandemic has created a new type of on-the-job toxicity by forcing many of us to work remotely. When you only see a colleague on your computer screen a few times a day, “you feel like you are on an island, and you don’t get the support and collaboration of your colleague,” Kerzner said. “Zoom and text messages can’t replace the same room.”

Charge toxicity

This is not surprising: the feeling of helplessness in working in a toxic environment can throw your family life into chaos. White said: “You will become harsh, irritable and prickly.” “You are always on the edge, and constantly feel that you are about to lose it.” Unless you leave all your money in front of the door when you get home, your Your partner, children, and friends may find that you can’t stand the life around you, or you may quit because you are hiding your feelings or just lack the energy to cope with others. White said: “This frees you from potential sources of support.”

White says that the stress of taking home from the workplace can also cause harm to your body.He said: “It’s amazing how many people get sick in a stressful work environment,” he pointed out insomnia, Chronic headache, BackacheAnd other physical illnesses are common among employees in toxic environments. “Listen to your body,” White said. “It will tell you when the work is not going well

what can you do?

If you use toxic materials, wear a gas mask suit. Similarly, White said that if you work in a toxic workplace, you also need to protect yourself.

do your work. White said, don’t let the catastrophic climate interfere with your responsibilities, so that a toxic leader or dysfunctional colleague cannot accuse you of not doing your job.

Written in writing. It is important to record the orders received from the supervisor. If new responsibilities or tasks are assigned at the meeting, please email all managers. “It should state clearly: this is how I understand what we agree to do. If that’s not right, please tell me.” White said.

Limit contact with poisonous people. If possible, do not have separate meetings with colleagues or bosses that you think are toxic. White said that if you are worried that this is possible, ask another colleague to help you protect you from verbal attacks.

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Perform a reality check. If you think you are in a toxic work environment, find a friend who will hear your concerns. White said: “Otherwise, you might think you are crazy.” Find someone to talk to someone who is not involved in this situation, such as a colleague in another department, preferably the unemployed.

Manage “up” to your supervisor. This is how Kerzner describes approaching the manager and discussing the issues that make your working day so painful and intolerable. “Have a transparent conversation,” Kerzner said. “If you don’t do this, then you will increase a toxic work environment. On the other hand, this kind of dialogue may change the paradigm enough to make organizations start thinking about what they must do to change.”

Live a balanced life outside of work. Korzner said: “If you realize that you can’t change your workplace, then if you can feel better and more balanced outside of work, then you may be able to survive in a toxic environment.” Arrange time with your family Spend time together, whether it’s eating together every day, planning a group walk or writing with a pencil on date night. Keep in touch with friends, even if it means Zoom check-in.Come some work out every day.And stay in touch with your spirituality, which means you may have to practice your beliefs, meditate or spend some time for recreation, whether you are listening to your favorite pastime or having an in-depth pastime with you music Or flying fish.

Or you can quit

If it reaches the point where the toxic environment cannot be tolerated, then the next logical next step is to leave. White said: “You do have a choice.” “You may not like this choice, but you don’t have to stay.” White said that staying in a toxic work environment makes you feel sick, which makes you a victim and The thought of powerlessness perpetuates, “And I don’t think any of us is powerless.”

Before organizing family photos and cleaning your desk, please do the following:

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Make a list of pros and cons. Weigh the advantages and disadvantages of exiting. Kerzner saw the employee resign and returned within 6 months because “the grass on the other side is not always that green. Make sure you don’t have “regrets”,” he said.

Get ready to market yourself. Korzner said: “Before you go out, make sure that your personal brand is up to date.” “Take an inventory of your work and achievements in the past five years.” When updating your resume and LinkedIn profile, make sure to include these achievements .

carry on

Don’t talk nonsense. It is a bad idea to give up the urge for a day. Give your employer reasonable notice, which will give you time to make an escape plan. White said, don’t expect to find the perfect new job right away. He said: “Without some kind of transition space, it is difficult to transform from a negative workplace to a truly good workplace,” he said.

When you start interviewing for a new job, see if you can talk not only with human resources and potential supervisors, but also with other people who have worked or worked for the company. White said: “Try to find out if it is suitable for the culture.”


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