Recognising and Handling Toxicity Within the Workplace

signatueThe word toxic denotes immediate fright and negativity; it denotes a notion or concept of something to run away from – and quickly. There is no doubt in mind, then, when it is assumed you would not wish for your staff to feel that they are working in a toxic environment, even for a minute. But what if you feel an aspect of your empire is headed that way, or worse, is breeding toxicity? How can you recognise it, and even more importantly, how can you combat it?

Recognising toxicity may immediately seem an easy task, but in fact, it can be hard to identify when in the midst of the environment yourself. Some indicators of a toxic environment can be a lack of prevailing loyalty, a lack of positivity towards tasks at hand, a lack of morale, and an unusually high level of stress-related sickness. Such a scene will only result in decreased productivity and increased labour turnover, and is thus an environment to be eradicated as soon as possible, for the sake of your own business.

What steps can you, as an Executive or Manager of a toxic workplace, take to correct the toxic environment that may have crept into the workplace you are at the helm of? Here are a few pointers to steer you in the right direction.

Identify the Root Cause
If a toxic environment has developed, it denotes that a non-toxic environment existed before; thus, something changed or arrived to cause a shift in attitude among your team. Identifying what this could be is the first crucial step in ridding your business of toxicity.

TALK to your team. Organise both formal and informal catch-ups, group discussions, and delve deeper into the reasons behind toxicity. Once root causes are identified, waste no time in weeding them out as quickly as possible, before the damage caused becomes irreversible.

Rally the Likeminded Together
Even within a toxic environment, individuals will exist who have maintained a positive attitude towards the work at hand, rising above the desire to join or respond to any negative behaviour demonstrated by fellow colleagues. Seek out such employees, commend them, reinforce their behaviour, and recruit them in order to filter down their desirable outlook among the rest of your staff.

Be Assertive, not Aggressive
When working to amend the attitude and behaviour of any affected members of your team, be sure to adhere to your principles consistently and forcibly – but do not demonstrate aggressiveness. This will only alienate your team further, and provide further fuel to any fires burning among them. Rather, stay assertive, and be clear and focused in your determination to transform the working environment to a positive and productive one. Communicate the objective to turn the current negative, toxic environment to a positive, learning one, in which all will be able to work happily, gaining the utmost satisfaction. Bring your team on board with you in your ambitions; none will be able to resist such promise.

These are just some initial, general steps towards ridding a workplace of toxicity; if your workplace has turned toxic, do not ignore it. Waste no time in embarking on a serious journey of erasing such negative attitudes and outlooks from your workforce as quickly as is within your power.