Are you working in a Toxic Work Culture?

Wherever you work, there will always be a dose of stress involved. It really doesn’t matter if you are a software developer, in sales, or a receptionist, bad days are destined. Problem is that some workplaces come with something more than just stress. I am sure a fair amount of you have experienced that the mere thought of going to work makes you tired, depressed, and physically unwell.

This is not work stress, this is a typical case of a toxic work environment.

Way too many companies are run in a culture built on loyalists and sycophants, while realists are seen upon as traitors and punished.

What you have to remember is that your employees normally know the company’s clients best; they interact with them daily. For that reason, they have the answers on how to improve both your products and the best way to interact with the clients. A company that doesn't listen to its employees is a disaster in the making.

If you keep treating employees in a bad manner, you will never earn their loyalty. Also, when employees don’t see the vision and goals for the company, how will they understand where they are going? Normally the best ones leave first, this is the group of employees that is most costly to replace, the people who have the best education and biggest potential to perform well. The signs were there early on but were ignored.

" Leaders who don't listen will eventually be surrounded by people who have nothing to say." -Andy Stanley

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's bad behavior, but because that behavior 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.

A toxic company culture will erode an organization by paralyzing its workforce, diminishing its productivity, and stifling creativity and innovation.

As a leader, your job is to encourage others around you to be open and honest without a negative consequence. When employees offer their ideas and differing opinions - be open-minded. Companies that remain strong in this competitive market, understand the need to embrace change and continuous improvement. And it starts with making your employees feel heard, valued, and appreciated.

Study Maslow's hierarchy of needs and take to heart that we must have several of these steps fulfilled to feel good. We also take with us that only 15% in Sweden (10% in Europe) of those who work feel engaged at their workplace, well then, we realize that there is a bit of an uphill slope in front of us. But as with all uphill’s, you eventually reach the top, and then you get a new perspective, you see something new. "Walk as far as you can see, and you will see further".

In other words, it is about what "mindset" we have. As a manager or owner of a company you can quickly figure out that with a positive change in terms of employee engagement, there will also be a positive change in the revenue numbers.

What it leads up to is an increased engagement and commitment, which in turn leads to:

  • Higher customer satisfaction.

  • Higher sales.

  • Higher productivity.

  • Higher profitability.

What is the working capital of the company? What creates profit? The answer is People.

10 Signs your workplace culture is Toxic (from an article written by Brigette Hyacinth)

  1. Company core values do not serve as the basis for how the organization functions.

  2. Employee suggestions are discarded. People are afraid to give honest feedback.

  3. Micromanaging -Little to no autonomy is given to employees in performing their jobs.

  4. Blaming and punishment from management is the norm.

  5. Excessive absenteeism, illness, and high employee turnover.

  6. Overworking is a badge of honor and is expected.

  7. Little or strained interaction between employees and management.

  8. Gossiping and/or social cliques.

  9. Favoritism and office politics.

  10. Aggressive or bullying behavior.

As an employee, trust your instincts. If your gut is telling you that something is not right and this is not the right place for you, most likely you are probably right.

“Management sets the tone, sets the place, and determines the psychological health (or disease) of the organization. Realizing this enormous responsibility and seizing this enormous opportunity makes or breaks every organization, from its culture to its financial performance.”

Employees are the heartbeat of the company. And if the heart stops beating...What will happen?

Gustaf-Wilhelm Hellstedt


*(Text inspired by and in sections partly copied from Brigette Hyacinth.)

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