Toxic Work Environment
5 Questions To Find Out If Your Work Environment Is Toxic

5 Questions To Find Out If Your Work Is Toxic

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How many of us can recall a time where we were at a job that was less than desirable, and the company was even worse? Often, too many people end up at organizations that don’t invest into their employees – creating discontentment and a lack of fulfillment.

If you continue to find yourself at a crossroad when it comes to your current career and the given employer, ask yourself these 5 questions to evaluate if your work environment promotes and encourages toxic behavior.

How is the communication across the organization?

When you look at the dynamics of a productive work environment, the first key essential skill is healthy communication. Leadership teams who do not promote and encourage healthy communication skills along with clear and reasonable goals, most often is a breakdown point within the organization.

Does management promote unbiased constructive feedback? Are employees often confused around the mission and vision of the company? Are there boundaries in place to make sure all employees feel empowered and respected in the workplace?

If these things are lacking, this promotes a lot of dysfunctions within teams, resulting in a less productive work environment. If employees aren’t comfortable with bringing their concerns forward due to reprimand or fear of being ostracized, this is a clear example of communication not being a core value. Office gossip, cliques or disrespect don’t foster a healthy work environment and may be more toxic than you realized.

Is there a lack of leadership and accountability?

When change isn’t regularly implemented to make the workplace a better environment for all employees to thrive, there’s a breakdown of true accountability.

Have you ever experienced a manager that did nothing to resolve issues or take any of your constructive feedback into consideration? Repeatedly ignoring the thoughts and opinions of a team member to protect managements reputation stifles the growth of employees and the company.

Confusion on any scale within an organization is counterproductive and has a huge impact on team morale. If you are noticing favoritism within teams or work being unevenly distributed, it’s time to evaluate what’s most important to you.

Even if this does not directly impact you now, but you notice odd behavior – please know things can escalate very quickly. When a company lacks positive and reinforced leadership this leaves a lot of unanswered questions. If clarity is lacking, leadership is missing the mark.

Do employees have a work-life balance?

If you and your fellow team are sending emails outside of operating hours, boundaries not being honored and respected. Working 60 plus hours a week is not an example of work-life balance. If there are phone calls being placed outside of business hours, or an unwritten rule that it’s normal to be overworked, this can deplete and completely disengage employees.

As adults we all have many responsibilities and obligations. It’s very important for your company to understand before you are an employee, you are a human being. If management does not set that precedence or attempt to work around any accommodations that will allow you to present your best self at work, this is not the place for you.

Negative reactions toward paid time off and vacations are examples of how a company is not properly supporting their employee’s wellbeing.

Does the company promote and encourage internal growth?

What is the attitude when it is time for you to transition into a different department? If there is a lack of promotion and overall employee training this could mean that the organization does not want their employees to have a fulfilling career.

Are there performance evaluations done on a regular basis? Are you able to discuss your short- and long-term professional goals with Human Resources and/or management? Is there a clear, documented path for growth and development?

When looking for new opportunities let’s ensure the organization’s values align with your personal ones as well. If it is very difficult to transition out of roles and find new opportunities, this shows that your current employer is only concerned with current tasks being completed and is disregarding your professional development.

Are there training opportunities or various programs that allow you to strengthen your skill set? Consider these questions and take the time to honestly answer them personally. If you’re constantly being met with excuses, runaround answers or blatant disregard – take that as an answer and move accordingly.

How does this environment impact my mental health?

Are you or any of your coworkers experiencing an overwhelming amount of workplace stress and or fatigue? Has there been an onset of anxiety due to work overload? If so, this is negatively impacting your mental health.

Workplace burnout is very real. This also applies to those that may work from home. Is communication passive aggressive? Are the tones during conference calls or emails demeaning, negative or condescending?

A toxic work environment doesn’t just affect you as an employee, it impacts you as a person. Everyone and everything that you come in contact with are at a disadvantage when you are not allowed to show up to the workplace as your full, authentic self.

If personal expressiveness is not encouraged, diversity is not supported, and inclusion is lacking – this is a huge problem. Have the people closest to you noticed a change of behavior? Have you abandoned activities you’ve loved at the expense of your current role?

Take personal inventory and make the necessary changes to re-establish your sanity. Don’t be afraid of change, especially change for the better. Your intuition doesn’t lie; prioritize yourself and seek to find an employer that fits you holistically.

Marsha Barnes
Marsha Barnes

Written by Marsha Barnes

Marsha Barnes is a finance guru with over 20 years of experience dedicates her efforts to empower women worldwide to become financially thriving. Financial competency and literacy are a passion of Marsha’s, providing practical information for clients increasing their overall confidence in their personal finances. More from Marsha Barnes