TOXICITY IN THE WORKPLACEAug 23, 2023
Toxicity in the Workplace
In today’s business landscape, a harmonious and productive work environment is crucial for organizational success. However, the presence of toxic employees can disrupt team dynamics, hinder productivity, and negatively influence the morale and well-being of their colleagues.
Addressing and managing toxic behavior is incredibly important, with statistics showing the detrimental impact that toxicity can have on both office settings and work from home environments. Organizations must be aware of what is happening in their work environments and take steps to foster a more positive culture.
A new survey from the American Psychological Association found that employees who report a toxic workplace are more than 3x as likely to say that their mental health has been harmed at work compared to those who report a healthy work environment. The 2023 survey also found that more than 22% of workers, that is 1 in 5, said that their mental health has been harmed while at work. The study also found that the number of people who are experiencing an increased level of stress along with a disregard concerning their personal time outside of the office is alarmingly high.
Toxic employees can exhibit a range of behaviors, such as gossiping, bullying, undermining coworkers, resisting collaboration, excessive negativity, unreasonable workloads, and displaying insubordination. Some behaviors might not even be prominent or displayed to where you realize they are toxic. Micromanaging, excessive negativity, and constant complaining might just seem like small behaviors of a specific employee that you put up with every day, but in reality, they are negatively affecting the workplace as a whole. We’ve all heard, “Oh, that’s just Andrew… just ignore him.” Unfortunately, this type of response will not work in today’s work environment.
In fact, studies have shown that toxic employees, those who engage in disruptive behavior, cost companies not only in terms of their productivity but also in terms of financial losses. Their research shows that a toxic high-performing employee can cost a company more than double what an average performer contributes in revenue.
Dealing with and managing toxicity in the workplace requires a strategic and proactive approach by leaders. First and foremost, fostering open communication with employees is essential. Encouraging employees to express their concerns without fear of retribution through frequent feedback and anonymous reporting channels allows for issues to be addressed before they escalate. Clear expectations and codes of conduct should also be established, ensuring that each team member understands the values of your organization and the consequences of toxic behavior.
Leaders and managers play a pivotal role in preventing toxicity and must lead by example, and model the behaviors that they expect from their team. Constructive feedback should be provided immediately to an individual displaying toxic behavior while referring back to the expectations and core values of the organization, while highlighting the detrimental impact of their actions, and offering both guidance and suggestions for improvement.
Professional development and coaching geared towards addressing toxic behaviors can help employees develop more self-awareness as well as emotional intelligence. Zero-tolerance policies for harassment, bullying, and discrimination might seem like common sense, but they should still be clearly communicated and consistently enforced. Offering resources for mental health support can also address underlying issues that contribute to toxicity.
If toxicity in the workplace is left unaddressed it may lead to irreparable consequences to an organization including conflict escalation, decreased morale and productivity, high turnover, and even lawsuits. According to Gallup, 75% of workers who have left a job voluntarily did so because of toxic work environments. This statistic underscores the significance or creating a positive workplace culture to retain valuable talent.
Dealing with and managing toxicity requires both vigilance and commitment from all levels of an organization. By cultivating a culture of respect, communication, and accountability, companies can mitigate the negative effects of toxic behavior, fostering a healthier and more productive workplace for all employees.
Content created with the aid of AI.