Signs of a Toxic Work Environment & How to Help Abolish


Finding a job can be quite a tussle, especially if you lack the requisite experience and skills. Employers need convincing that their new hires will perform to their expectations, rendering quality work and timely services as needed. If you are among the lucky ones, it is possible to secure a job within the first few months of job hunting and may even be able to switch from one job to a better one.

At times, however, things may not always go as expected for you as an employee. You expected a job opportunity that allows you some quality personal time, well paying, friendly colleagues and boss only to end up with the complete opposite. You get to realize that the kind of job you signed yourself up for brings you more stress than peace. Such frustrations may render you unproductive to the point of getting sucked or leaving the job all the same.

A toxic work environment makes it difficult for employees to perform well no matter their academic qualifications, job level, experience, or skills. It is not always easy for employees to confront limiting issues at their workplace for fear of victimization, while in some instances, the boss may be unapproachable. When it gets down to this, you as an employee may decide to shape in and endure the work climateOpens in a new tab. as it is or, if unbearable, quit.

Such can, however, be avoided by exercising due diligence before accepting a potential job offer. To any toxic employer, there will always be red flags to watch out for. Be it from past employees, online reviews, to clients’ satisfaction history; you can most certainly be able to tell whether you are joining a troubled workplace or one that is going to grow you.

Discussed below are the top signs of a toxic work environmentOpens in a new tab. to watch out for before signing up for your next role.

1. High employee turnover

The rate of employee turnover is one of the surest waysOpens in a new tab. to tell whether your potential employer is the real deal or you need to search further. No one accepts a job wishing to leave sooner. Things may, however, get unbearable, forcing one to lay down their tools. If employees join and leave at almost the same time they join, you might need to inquire further to ascertain whether the trend results from sucking due to employees’ nonperformance or strained work environment.

2. No communication

Communication is the key to the productivity of any organization. Poor communication or no communication at all leads to constant misunderstanding, which hinders performance. Where proper communication does not prevail, a failure or poor performance will have the employees blame the management while the management blames the employees. If this happens for a long time without intervention, a strained relationship is created amongst colleagues and the management. You wouldn’t also want to work in an environment where your ideas are not listened to, as with time, you get bored and demotivated.

3. Lack of enthusiasm

Lack of motivation is a sure sign of a toxic work environment. When employees are not well appreciated for their efforts or are made to feel useless, their morale goes down. The employees go to work only because they need the money but would be willing to run off if a better opportunity is presented. The lack of responsibility towards one’s duties is an indication that the terms are not so good.

4. Poor leadership

Leaders should always lead from the front as examples. The effects of poor leadership have far-reaching effects on both the employees and their productivity. Employees want a leader who listens to them and one that is available when needed. Poor leadership makes work unbearable to the detriment of the employees’ performance.

5. Lack of work-life balance

Watch out for employers who prioritize meeting deadlines at the expense of their employees’ wellbeing. Healthy work conditions recognize the need for personal time and space by employees. The health needs of the employees should not be overlooked.

6. Stifled growth

You want to work in a progressing organization. A company with no growth potential most certainly points out things not going right from within.

7. Poor employee involvement

Employees need to feel like essential components of the organization. A company that does not engage its employees is likely to develop unfavorable policies that may not work for the employees and certainly not work for you.

8. Fear of failure

If you realize employees are always wary of making new moves or getting down to work, it could be due to past confrontations

9. Difficulty sleeping and getting to work

If you are working in an organization where you are constantly sleep-deprived and reporting to work gives you a headache, you need to rethink your decision to stay. Mental health is critical for quality performance. In cases you always feel drained and overwhelmed at your workplace, it is an indication you need to act.

10. Poor and discriminating policies

Discrimination also causes strained work relationships among employees and the management. Work may not go well if some employees are treated fairly, with others left out on major issues. Discriminating policies lowers the morale of the victims.

11. Gossips and exclusion

These are dominant characteristics of a toxic work environment. It is close to impossible to perform well in an organization characterized by hearsays and backstabbing among employees.

It is worth noting that not all cases of stress or burnout points to a toxic work environment. Some are a result of seasonal crisis which fades away with time and the normal peace take over. Finding a job that completely has no ups and downs may not be typical.

How to Help Abolish a Toxic Work Environment

Mental health is critical at work as it determines one’s productivity. Do the above signs feel like what you are already going through? It does not always have to be the case. Mentioned below are some of the actions you can take to solve a toxic workOpens in a new tab. environment tussle.

  • Be a good example for others to copy
  • Engage with the management on some of the best policies that could lead to a positive work culture
  • Sensitize the employees on the need to own up their job and love what they do
  • Encourage communication within the organization

Always seek to work where you feel appreciated and motivated. A toxic work environment can always be avoided by individuals playing their parts and owning up to their mistakes. A healthy relationship between the management and the employees is paramount respect, notwithstanding.

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