TOXIC WORK ENVIRONMENT: 14 Signs Your Workplace is Toxic (and How to Cope)

You absolutely do not want to go to work. Too often I speak with women that are in an incredibly toxic workplace. In today’s video I’m going to go through not just the signs of a toxic workplace, but four things to do if you are in a toxic workplace. Hello, and welcome back to my channel where I help you slay your career and cultivate the successful life that you want. Let’s start off with just going through what the 15 signs of a toxic workplaces. Now, the first one, if you have watched my channel it all in the past, you probably are not going to be shocked to hear me say this, that is gossip. And you know I have to qualify by saying I’m not talking about the good gossip that just keeps you in the loop in terms of what’s actually happening at the company.

I’m talking about the bad gossip. The gossip about people. The gossip about your colleagues’ personal lives. The judgmental gossip of who’s going to get fired next. That is not productive gossip, and it’s a big red flag. Another tip off might be a culture of disrespect. If you see colleagues that are bickering, especially if you see senior or executive leadership that is say, reprimanding people in the middle of an open office. Now it is just not something that is acceptable. Poor communication as well. It can be something that is going to alert you that your workplace is toxic. I know that a lot of companies do struggle with communication, especially if you’re working in a company that is very large and functions very siloed, or if you’re at a really fast growing startup where you’re experiencing the growing pains and sometimes packages get lost, you know what I’m talking about. It is the persistent lack of communication where people just don’t talk to each other.

Where there is intentional withholding of information and that leads to the next sign,, which is a lack of trust. And this could be between team members, it could be between leadership, it could be between leadership and their teams. It can be between the company and their clients. Anytime that there is an assumption that people should not be trusted, that is a very big sign that that workplace is toxic. Another thing that you’ll frequently see in a toxic workplace is where people are taking credit for each other’s work. This is something that is actually very cut throat. I know a lot of women experiences in terms of they throw an idea and someone else takes credit for it and it definitely can be that, but it can also go a lot deeper. Or where someone is taking credit for an account that got closed. Anytime that you’re in a place that is so cut throat, that owning your own work is something that is going to be questionable, that is a sign. Next is one I know is going to resonate with so many of you, and that is the demand to work crazy hours and to do a whole bunch of stuff that has nothing to do with what you do.

If the expectation is that you’re at work from 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM every day. That you’re working all of the time, doing a whole bunch of stuff that not only has nothing to do with what you do but as below what you do know. It doesn’t have to be that extreme, but huge demands in terms of your hours, your expenditure and your effort, especially when they’re dramatically out of scope and not helping uplevel you is a very big sign of a toxic workplace. Another one that you might want to watch for is where there was a big culture of a hierarchy which is matched with a lack of effort. You know the one, the executive who doesn’t seem to do anything at all. This is a really big tip off for you.

Another sign is demands that are really far outside of the scope of your role that are even potentially demeaning. Now, I know that in some office culture is we all have to pull our weight, like taking turns to clean up the office kitchen and stuff like that, and you know, that’s fair. But there’s a difference between being asked to clean up the office kitchen, which you use on a regular basis, and being asked to scrub toilets, which is just not something that you wanted to at your workplace.

Especially some of the workplaces that I’ve seen. And this relates as well into toxic leadership. Which is bad bosses. Or narcissistic bosses. I mean basically there is no way to not have a toxic workplace if you have a toxic manager and a lot of these signs are also signs of toxic leadership. One that I see really frequently that I don’t see discussed nearly enough is that there’s gaslighting happening.

What do I mean by this? I mean that you are putting up stellar performance, you’re smashing all of your KPIs. Maybe you’re even overachieving on the most important things to your company. However, when it comes to review and raise time, you’re being told that you’re barely meeting expectations and no, you’re not going to get a raise. With it another sign to watch out for, a. nd this is especially helpful if you are considering joining a company. You haven’t signed the dotted line yet, is that there is very high turnover. Some companies may qualify that, that they are generating the turnover themselves. They see a bad fit, they fire quickly, dah, dah, dah. However, this is something that even if it is company initiated, you really have to ask yourself if that is something that is normal. Yes, turnover is normal and expected and you’re never going to accept a job and that’s just going to be the job forever for the rest of your life, at least not in most cases these days. However, if there is a complete turn in terms of leadership or substantial percentage of the team, that’s something that you really need to ask questions about.

Now, one that is a little bit specific for the women watching this video, but where you see the boys club and I know that the boys club is persistent, especially in male dominated industries like tech, which is where I personally spent more than 12 years of my career, but there’s a difference between the boys club that can be broken down and the boys club that has really no desire to change. I’m talking about the boys club members who are really, really threatened by feminists, other than you know, acknowledging that women have the same rights and are just as talented and worthy as men. And related to that is where there is open discrimination or sexism. There’s even sexual harassment that is happening and it is being permitted.

Now I know you’re thinking. There’s the #metoo movement. It’s 2019 almost 2020 that doesn’t happen. Unfortunately, I can assure you that it does still happen. If you see or you have experienced one of these things and you have reported it and it has been brushed aside, that is a toxic workplace. The final sign ultimately comes down to you. Because what is a toxic workplace is something that is toxic for you. Not everyone’s going to agree that that workplace is toxic, but if you’re anxious and unhappy, you have a substantial amount of dread before you have to go to work.

You’re experiencing loss of sleep. It’s the only thing that you can think about. Then that workplace is toxic for you. Ultimately, if you’re watching this video, and you feel like you’re in a toxic workplace, probably it’s because your in a toxic workplace. And the question becomes what are you going to do about it? The first thing that you need to do if you are in a toxic environment is determine if it’s a team issue or company issue.

The easiest way to determine this is to look at your manager and identify if other leadership, are other teams in your company are the same or are they different? For example, if you have a colleague on another team who loves their manager, thinks this is the greatest company, then this might actually just be a team issue. If it’s a team issue, you might be able to actually transfer to another team. So if you like the company in general and it is truly an isolated issue, you still have options that don’t require an exit strategy. However, if it is a total company issue and all of leadership functions like this, which can absolutely happen because it’s very much modeled from the top, or if you’re in a small company and the manager is the founder or the owner or whatever, then you’re not going to have a lot of options in order to escape them. Now spoiler alert, the fourth step is going to be an exit strategy. And I want you to hang tight to actually get into that one with me. But there’s a couple of things that you need to do because most people can’t just up and quit their job without having another job.

They need to stick it out where they are until they can actually make their move. So step two is to get what you need to actually weather the storm, and that is developing your mindset. Now if you didn’t already watch my video about in developing a positive attitude at work, I want you to go and watch that video after this one. I’m going to link it in the comments so that it’s easy to find and I’ll throw it up on the end card as well. The thing is is that you can actually insulate your mindset. So while I can say that you’re not going to be affected about what’s happening around you, if you have to stay in that scenario, you can minimize the actual impact.

And maybe you can even make it not so bad for yourself. On a day to day basis, doing things like daily gratitudes to help you find the good things and maintain a positive outlook so that you aren’t just completely discouraged in your career is going to be so important and absolutely instrumental to your longterm success. The third thing that I’m going to tell you to do is very tactical. And that is to document everything. Chances are you’re not going to need this information. This is absolutely for the worst case scenario, where the situation escalates and you need to have a case, keep notes when those things arise that are incredibly toxic and harmful for you. You probably won’t ever need them quite honestly, but it doesn’t hurt to have those things on file in case you ever do need them.

Now, as I said, step four is creating your exit plan. And you should actually be doing all of these. They’re not sequential like do these all at the same time. If you are in a toxic workplace and you can simply move to a better team and it’s going to like completely resolve your issue. If this is like a whole company issue, you need to leave, it’s not going to get better. It’s going to get worse and it can have longterm effects on you as a person and your mental wellbeing. And you don’t want to be in that situation. So having an exit strategy is incredibly important. As I mentioned, I know and I don’t think that most people can just up and quit their jobs, but you do need to be planning on it.

So this includes things like doing the obvious, brushing up your resumes, starting to cultivate relationships with recruiters. Another thing that you might want to be doing at this stage as well because especially if you have a toxic manager, you might not be able to get a good reference, and that is something that your next employer is going to need. Find someone who isn’t toxic at your workplace, and see if they can speak on your behalf. If that’s not something that’s going to be possible for you, then you need to be able to position yourself around it. Truly though I see way too many people stick it out for way too long in toxic environments and it harms them and it hurts their careers. So if you are in that place where you feel like it’s toxic, you don’t know what to do. The answer sincerely is to find a way to leave.

No, there’s one more thing that I want to speak to that is incredibly important, especially if you’re in a toxic workplace, but I think that it’s really important across your career. If you are someone who is trying to build a career success and that is to get the support that you need to succeed and that’s why I created my free Facebook community, the strive squad. In it, I post exclusive content. There’s even a weekly live Q and A, so I can help you out one-to-one for your career, your questions, your obstacles to get through them. If you’d like to join the link is down in the description bar below. Now I want to leave the question for you. Have you survived a toxic workplace? Do you have a success story about leaving? Share it in the comments or just say, I escaped down below.

Now, if you found this video helpful, I really do appreciate it. If you click that like button, not only does it let me know to make more videos like this, it really truly does help my channel. Next week I’m launching my series about moving on to help you do things like negotiate your salary, ace your interview, and all of that fun stuff. So make sure that you click the subscribe button and the notification bell so you don’t miss a video. Thank you for being unapologetically ambitious, for taking this time to invest in your professional growth and for watching this video. I release a new one every week. I’ll see you next time. Bye for now..

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