Is Your Workplace Toxic?

How healthy or unhealthy is your workplace? Let’s face it. All of us have had, at one time or another, an experience with a terrible boss, an irritable colleague, or a terrible workplace. But how can you tell if where you are right now is causing you unbelievable amounts of stress? Here are 5 signs to look for.

Communication is Problematic

A critical element of an organization’s success is clear and effective communication. When communication breaks down, confusion arises, and sometimes, it can result to conflict. Some of the indicators of problematic communication are as follows:

  • You only find out about a change after they’re implemented
  • You don’t get direct contact from the source of communication
  • You only hear about important updates from a colleague and not through an official announcement
  • You’re being misinformed
  • Information is being withheld
  • You’re confused about whether or not to do something
  • You get different versions of how to do something
  • You don’t receive any communication at all

You know that there’s a problem in communication in your workplace when even you and your colleague have conflicting understanding about something. This is related to the second sign.

Policies are Inconsistent

This problem manifests itself not only internally but externally, as well. The danger is, it can affect your company’s clients. One obvious example is a customer experiencing a company whose staff doesn’t seem to know what he or she is doing. As a result, the answer you get from your question depends on who you’re talking to.

Internally, inconsistencies can become a source of disagreement between employees. If one department isn’t fully informed about how another department is working, the effect is often experienced not by the staff themselves. It’s the customers who usually suffer the fallback because they’re being tossed from one department to another.

In this case, establishing a standard operating procedures is important. But equally critical is educating employees about how a certain process works, who takes care of the implementation, who to talk to when issues need escalation, and how each department can support each other in terms of issue with overlapping scope.

Toxic or Narcissistic Leaders

Surely, you’ll meet a lot of different types of leaders in a single organization. But among these types, the narcissistic leader represents the most problem.

For one, narcissistic leaders only think about themselves. They think of themselves as higher than anyone else in the organization and because of that, they believe that they deserve special treatment. It’s all about them, and ignore the rest.

The danger of having narcissistic leaders around is that they themselves cause disagreement in an organization. That’s because they can manipulate others, they take credit for something they didn’t do, they undermine other people’s abilities, and they are condescending, especially on each other.

It’s true that narcissistic leaders can become successful. But that only happens in a short time. Eventually, their ways catch up with them. Soon, trust and teamwork become a problem in their departments causing tension and a high turnover.

General Dissatisfaction

A toxic workplace produces toxic employees. This is easily noticeable because employees are good at one thing: complaining. The atmosphere in this kind of workplace is one that’s restless, negative, and distrustful. If negativity integrates itself as a part of an organization’s culture, employee morale takes a plunge, and management becomes the enemy.

If an entire organization is disgruntled, they’re bound to be resistant and uncooperative. Team members will start blaming each other, they’ll become sarcastic, and they’ll withdraw their involvement. They may even stop interacting with each other. The final stretch for them is to leave, contributing to a high turnover rate.

Emotional and Physical Health Problems

A toxic workplace is never an ideal place to work. You’ll know that you’re in a toxic workplace when you feel emotionally or physically drained. Physical indications are lack of sleep, weight gain, and medical problems. Emotional problems include irritability, anger management, and heightened emotionality.

The consequences of working in a toxic environment is that employees leave because the negative effects they experience is something unwarranted. And that’s true. Every workplace is supposed to be a healthy place where one can grow and progress happily.