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Jennifer Moss shows you how to recognize toxic workplaces and what to do to fix them.
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Jennifer Moss shows you how to recognize toxic workplaces and what to do to fix them.

How to recognize a toxic workplace and what to do about it: Jennifer Moss

Many of us have experienced stress at work.

However, it can be a very different feeling to work in toxic environments. It can feel as if work is constantly in conflict and everyone is trying to ruin you day.

It is also known as a toxic work environment. This can be extremely detrimental to mental health.

Research shows that toxic workplace environments, such as bullying, harassment, exclusion, and other factors, can have a negative impact on well-being. Yet, most people don’t know how to recognize when they’re in the middle of it.

Definition of a toxicworkplace

A “toxic workplace” refers to a place of work that is marred by significant personal conflicts among its employees.

Researchers at Lund University, Sweden This has been proven over the past twenty yearsToxic work environments can lead to depression, substance abuse, and other serious health problems.

Here are some signs that you might be in a toxic work environment:

  • Speaking up and not being ignored. If you feel you’re sharing input, but no one cares or wants it to be implemented, you might feel there is no point.
  • Rumours and gossip.If you have a lot of gossipy or negative conversations at work, you may feel unsafe. This makes us feel unsafe and closes our eyes. It can be very difficult to have open discussions about mental illness and mental health.
  • Bullying. Bullying is often thought of as verbal or physical abuse. However, it can also take the form of nonverbal or psychological abuse. This is just as dangerous.
  • Favoritism. It feels like some rules only apply to certain employees.
  • Narcissistic leadership Leaders who are only interested in their own self-interest, lack empathy, and lack self-awareness make it nearly impossible to work together.
  • Overwork. Unsustainable workloads that are so overpowering that you have no time for your personal life or other interests.

Employees who hate their jobs will try to convince others that they hate theirs. Here are some ways to identify a toxic worker:

  • They are not loyal to their company or their coworkers.
  • Do not follow basic professional or ethical conduct standards.
  • Toxic workers create relationships with coworkers through favor or advance assistance.

Moss writes that a toxic workplace environment can lead to harassment, bullying, exclusion, and other factors. It’s also detrimental to your well-being. (wavebreakmedia / Shutterstock)

Strategies that help

The “Great Resignation”, which is currently taking place, is because we have different expectations of work and life after suffering through the pandemic.

We cannot continue to live with mental health problems. We have already taken on too many emotional burdens over the last 20-months.

If quitting is not an option for you, here are some options to help you deal with an unhealthy workplace.

Instead of focusing on commiserating, focus more on collaboration. We all need to vent our frustrations from time to time. But if you complain constantly or bring your negative stress to work, it could be making matters worse.

Try talking about lighter topics for a while to change your relationship with coworkers. If people realize you won’t commiserate, they’ll move on to something else. Or even better, they might stop.

Increase your mindfulness.It is possible to manage conflict better by taking a subconscious breath between the executive functioning part and our irrational mind. This means that if someone is angry or irrational, they don’t need to be met at their level. Instead, we can reduce the heat and be more effective communicators.

Working with a micromanager. Micromanagers can be extremely toxic. Here are some tips to make it more bearable.

  • You should anticipate the needs of your manager. Learn more about your manager to be able to anticipate their needs and address them proactively.
  • Communicate clearly with your boss and keep them informed. This means giving regular updates before your boss asks. It could be as simple as sending a brief email with status updates or more visibility into your work.
  • Keep your eyes on the same goal. Find out what your boss expects. If they are reasonable, then try to match them.

Additional resources

If the toxicity becomes too severe, you may need to seek outside help. You can find mental health support through your EAP or local resources.

Private therapy and teletherapy can be a good option if you are able to afford it. You may be eligible for a subsidy through your company’s health insurance.

You may also need to think about quitting your job or, if there is toxicity in one department, moving out of that particular department.

Work is an important part in our lives. When it’s fun, inspiring, and healthy, we can all enjoy it.

While it’s okay to have work situations that are more stressful than usual, work should not make you sick. Our lives are more valuable than our jobs.

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