Are You Overlooking a Toxic Work Culture

A toxic work culture is sometimes right under your nose and you don’t even know it. If you are the manager or a boss, think about the work environment your employees deal with on a daily basis.  Think everything is fine?  Ask your employees and you might be surprised.

Toxic culture

Toxic work environments are not just caused by a dictator boss.  It can come from employees in a position of power intimidating other employees, employees bullying one another, watercooler gossip, groups isolating individuals, etc.

If the behavior creates a culture where employees are scared, intimidated, or constantly unhappy, it will erode your organization.  You will see diminished productivity, creativity stifled, and employees will just generally sad.    You might see increased absenteeism, tardiness, and eventually increased turnover.  The best employees are often the first to jump ship.

Something You Can’t Ignore

Signs of a toxic workplace

All this can be happening when you as a boss do not even realize there is a problem. (Until you ask!)

Often when there is toxicity in the work environment, your most passionate people become quiet. Employees begin to feel marginalized and unappreciated. According to Forbes, 53 percent of Americans are currently unhappy at work.  That is a lot of unhappy workers!

A toxic work culture is costly.  It can eventually cost you in lost revenues, settlements, and damages.  Don’t let it get to that point.

Now, more than ever, managers need to talk to employees and address issues of workplace toxicity.

As a manager, it is important that you find out what is really going on.  Don’t just assume things are fine because no one is saying anything.

While you may not be aware of what is happening, other employees may just assume you are looking the other way and allowing those who are creating the issues to continue or that you even support them.

How do you fix a toxic work culture?

If you hold a leadership position, whether you’re the CEO, middle manager, or team lead, never underestimate the power of your influence. Even if you are not the one creating the toxicity, there are things you can do to improve the culture in your workplace.

It all starts by practicing the following behaviors:

1. Identify Problem and Acknowledge It

  • Talk to employees one on one and get to know how they are feeling about work, coworkers, the work environment, etc.  Let them know they can be honest and there will be no retaliation or sharing their info with other employees.  Talk to employees from all levels of the organization.  Five minutes here and there can make a big difference.  Ask pointed questions about their feelings and let them know if something is amiss, they can reach out to you.
  • Do some research.  How many sick days are being used by employees?  Are people taking their vacation time?  Is the workload too heavy? Are employees taking care of their health and taking advantage of healthcare benefits. Is bullying a problem?
    • In a recent article, 10 Shocking Workplace Stats You Need to Know, from Forbes, they indicated American workers forfeited nearly 50 percent of their paid vacation time in 2017.  The fear of falling behind is the number one reason people aren’t using their vacation time.
    • Inc. reports toxic workplaces are the 5th leading cause of death.  Are your employees working themselves to death?   Be aware of the hours your employees are working and ask yourself:  Am I contributing to an excessive workload?  Can it be sustained?  Are there changes I can make to fix the workload of any one individual?
    • According to The Balance Careers. bullying often manifests as an abuse of power whose targets suffer serious and long-lasting emotional and physical health-harming effects. Not unlike batterers who emotionally abuse their victims, bullies engage in learned abusive workplace behavior because they often get away with it.  Bullies are cognitively aware of their actions, changing their behavior when in the presence of superiors, often appearing charming and professional.

2. Develop a Plan to Fix the Problem

  • Stop micromanaging.
  • Encourage balance.  All work and no play makes for a dull person.  Productivity increases when you have balance in your life.
  • Provide clear communication and expectations.
  • Provide policies and follow them.  Be consistent and fair.
  • Allow for some fun and flexibility.   A small dose of fun can have a dynamic impact on the tone and climate of organizational culture.
  • Reduce Stress.  Time away from work is a major factor in stress reduction.  Time away from the job almost always increases productivity when they return.

3.  Take Action and Follow through With What You Say You are Going To Do

  • Let employees know they can count on you.  Don’t just give it lip service.  Actually do what you promise.
  • Show appreciation for what they do.  People nowadays are worn down and underappreciated. These two factors are a breeding ground for toxic behavior–because when people don’t feel valued, they lose their desire to try.  Look for the good in others and mention it!
  • Be an example and show others the values and priorities you feel are important and expect them to follow.
  • Apologize when you are wrong.Toxic Culture
  • Be Present.  Get out of your office and let employees know you are around.   That you care about what they are doing.
  • Use your vacation time and encourage employees to do the same.
  • Take care of your health and encourage employees to do the same.  Mention your Dr. visit or eating healthy, exercising and going to the dentist.  You are setting an example.
  • Be transparent and let employees know what is happening in your business.  You would be surprised how many employees do not know what the company goals are.
  • Show respect, integrity, authenticity, appreciation, empathy, and trust.  Expect the same of all employees.

There is Hope for Improvement

The causes of toxicity and hostility in the workplace are many and created by all levels of employees.  But there are many ways to improve a toxic culture.

Talk to your employees today and learn how they feel.  If there is something or someone creating a toxic work culture, take action immediately and fix the problem.

Your business depends on it!

Other Posts of Interest

Is a Toxic Job Adding Too Much Stress?

11 Tips for Work and Life Balance To Avoid Burnout


By |2019-09-09T13:31:40-05:00September 10th, 2019|Career Success, How to Be Happy at Work|Comments Off on Are You Overlooking a Toxic Work Culture

Rate Your Workplace Happiness

This is the time of year when new initiatives are starting, bonuses are often paid, and things get into a routine at work.  It’s a perfect time to look at your workplace happiness.  Do you “love” your job?   If not, it might be time to take inventory and consider your options.
Workplace Happiness
More than a third of all workers are planning to move to a different job during the next year.  Will a new job live up to expectations, or will they be back to hunting the perfect job in just a few months?

Evaluating Your Job Happiness

Before jumping ship and switching jobs, look inside yourself and evaluate what exactly you are unhappy about.   What criteria do you need to use to make sure the next job makes you happier?   Is there anything you can do to improve your job happiness with your current employer?


Take your personality into consideration. Do you enjoy social interactions and communication or is working with smaller groups or by yourself more your thing?  Can you concentrate for long stretches of time on a single thing, or do you like constant change?   Is your current occupation using your strengths or tugging at your weaknesses?

Understanding your personality traits will help you to recognize which working environments are best suited for you.  Work environment plays a big role in your happiness at work.


Next, let’s look at the skills you enjoy using.   Do you like to work with numbers or words?   Do you like to do research?  Are you a problem solver?   Are you strategic?   What skills make you feel energized when you use them?  What skills drain you?

Work Requirements

All jobs have requirements and we might not like all of them, and it is something to take into consideration when looking at a new position.   Do you like working 9-5 or do you want more flexibility?   Do you want to set your own schedule or work when you are assigned?  Do you want to come into an office or work from home? Are you required to do mandatory overtime?  How often do you have to stay late?

Studies have found that people who work 40 hours or less are usually happier than peers who are working 40+ hours.   If you work long hours you have less time for family and friends.  Unrealistic work demands can decrease employee happiness.


Do you have the opportunity to learn new things?   Does your current job challenge your mind on a routine basis or is it routine?   Most people enjoy a bit of challenge.


Some of the happiest employees make very little in comparison to some of the high paying jobs available.  You have heard the saying, “Money isn’t everything.”  While that is true, money is important.  You should be paid fairly for the job you are doing.  Wages and benefits have an impact on your happiness with the job.

While a six-figure salary may appear to make a person happy, if it eats up all their time and is constantly stressful it might not be worth it.  Many will pick a lower salary for more freedom and time away from the job.  Money is not an indicator of job happiness but is something to consider.  More money does not always make a person happier but being underpaid certainly contributes to job unhappiness. Only you can answer the questions regarding how much money contributes to your job happiness.

Other Factors

Other factors that contribute to job happiness include:

  • Relationship to co-workers
  • Treatment of employees
  • Job Security
  • Safety
  • Organization’s stability
  • Relationship with immediate supervisor
  • Communications
  • Culture
  • Future opportunities
  • Training
  • Support and recognition
  • and others

As you take inventory of these items and how they contribute to your workplace happiness, you might find you are not happy and want to make a shift.  Utilizing a coach for career guidance may help you find the perfect job that would be a better fit for your personality.

Let Me Help

If you need help preparing for the job-hunt, contact your Career Coach, Rachel Schneider, at Career Find for an Introduction Call.  I can help you create a resume that will differentiate you from the competition, develop a unique job search strategy, and help you to feel confident as you begin the interviewing process.


By |2019-05-06T10:10:28-05:00February 20th, 2018|career search, How to Be Happy at Work|Comments Off on Rate Your Workplace Happiness

How Your Spouse or Partner Affects Your Work Success

Choosing the right person to spend your life with is an important decision for your overall life happiness.  How can this choice affect your career success?

When it comes to promotions/raises, your spouse or partner may be exerting a bigger influence than you think, suggests a recent study from Washington University in St. Louis.
The study found that spouse’s personality traits, specifically conscientiousness, can influence your performance in the workplace in three ways…
  1. Reliability and Trust – If you are able to rely on your spouse to share or handle household responsibilities, like buying groceries, paying bills or raising children, than you experience more piece of mind throughout the workday.
  2. Emulating Habits – Having a conscientious spouse may help you bring more thoroughness and reliability with workplace challenges.
  3. Work-Life Balance – Having a spouse that keeps your personal life running smoothly reduces stress and makes it easier to maintain a healthy work-life balance.
Have you made the right partner choice for your career?
By |2015-09-30T20:54:25-05:00September 30th, 2015|How to Be Happy at Work|Comments Off on How Your Spouse or Partner Affects Your Work Success

How to Avoid Workplace Burnout

Burnout has been called the epidemic of the modern workplace. Burnout is the mental and physical exhaustion you experience when the demands of your work consistently exceed the amount of energy you have available.
Here are some basic “do’s” and “don’ts” to avoid burnout and stay motivated…


  • Set boundaries around the use of your work phone during non-work hours and leave your device in a basket or drawer after 8pm.
  • Incorporate regular breaks into your workday. Have lunch away from your desk.
  • Nourish your creativity outside of the office. Start a fun project.
  • Focus on why the work matters to you. Are you striving for a promotion or a raise? Keep your eye on the prize.
  • Check your email when you’re on vacation.
  • Take on too many responsibilities without enough help from others.
  • Minimize the importance of a full night’s sleep on a regular basis
  • Mistake constant fatigue or apathy for a temporary case of burnout.

If you feel ineffective on a daily basis, it might be time to look for a new job with the help of Career Find.

By |2015-08-12T14:30:23-05:00August 12th, 2015|How to Be Happy at Work|Comments Off on How to Avoid Workplace Burnout

Your Superpower vs. Your Kryptonite

The one question all successful people can answer immediately is, “if you had a super power what would it be?”. The question is asking if you know yourself well enough to identify your competitive advantage.

Don’t already know your superpower?

Ask yourself these 3 questions…

    • What is the quality you are most proud of?
    • What is the quality that makes you stand out against your peers?
    • What quality gives you an edge over everyone else

Once you answer these questions, you need to know about your “kryptonite”. On the other side of the coin, knowing your weakness can and should be used to your advantage.

When searching for your perfect job, seek a position that compliments your skill set and also accepts what you are not so great at.

Know someone who needs help finding their strengths and weaknesses?

Career Find specializes in helping clients ace the interview and land the dream job.

By |2015-03-11T10:00:23-05:00March 11th, 2015|career search, How to Be Happy at Work|Comments Off on Your Superpower vs. Your Kryptonite

How to break up with a job you’re not in love with…

Breaking up is hard to do. Whether you are ending a personal relationship or a work relationship it is important to do it with dignity and openness. Expect feelings to be hurt, but if you have a plan, you can feel good when the break up is over.

Do it in person. Writing, “I’m sorry. I can’t. Don’t hate me.” on a Post-It note to your boss will pretty much ensure that you’ve burned a bridge. No phones, no email. When you decide to leave a job, the initial message must be delivered in person.

Keep it real and short. The cleanest breakups are the ones that are brief. Don’t get trapped in a long exit-interview process where you say things you will regret later. Try to contain your emotions and keep the conversation factual.

Provide closure. Make a conscious effort to tie up all loose ends. Be sure that whoever fills your position has the tools and resources they need to succeed. Return all company property; there should be no reason for the employer to have to track you down after your last day.

By |2015-02-03T16:29:56-06:00February 3rd, 2015|How to Be Happy at Work|Comments Off on How to break up with a job you’re not in love with…
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