Whether you are running a startup, or a large organization, running a team can be difficult. You may occasionally find that you or your teammates are struggling to deal with work related stress. However, when stress becomes a daily phenomenon, it could be an indication of toxicity in workplace.
So what do you do in such a situation? In today’s post, we will share our tips and strategies to handle a toxic work environment so your team can thrive in a fun, collaborative atmosphere.
5 Warning Signs Of Toxicity In Workplace
Toxic workplaces are described as any job in which the work, the environment, the people, or any combination of these factors causes major disruptions in your personal as well as professional life. Of course, it is important to remember that some of these disruptions are likely to arise during major events such as a mega product launch, or peak sales seasons.
But if the disruptions are occurring frequently over a long period of time, then you have to acknowledge that it is due to workplace toxicity, and take actionable steps to manage it.
To do that, you must be aware of the signs of a toxic work environment. Below are some of the most common signs of toxicity in workplace.
Frequent Miscommunication Or Negative Communication
Another sign of toxicity in workplace is when there is constant miscommunication, or worse, negative communication. In the case of the former, your team members may be making mistakes in their work due to lack of information or proper communication flow. In case of negative communication, you may notice cases of in-fighting between your teammates, blaming or unwillingness to take responsibility when conflict arises.
Lack Of Enthusiasm To Work Together On Projects
Have you ever noticed how your team members respond when they are assigned to work on a project? If your employees are not showing enthusiasm when being assigned a particular task, and later on they complete the task with bare minimum effort, then it may be due to underlying toxicity in workplace.
Lack Of Productivity And Efficiency Among Employees
While it is often advised to plan an attractive employee benefits program to motivate your team members, if you have a toxic work environment, your employees will not feel enthusiastic about their work or take their job responsibilities seriously. In such a situation, you may notice that your team members are not being efficient at work, are often making mistakes or are being unable to meet given deadlines.
High Rate Of Employee Turnover
This may seem obvious, but employee turnover rates are the biggest indicator of a toxic work environment. If your employees are leaving your team quickly or are unwilling to stay on your team for too long, then clearly they are unhappy with their work environment. However, as a manager you need to be able to handle toxicity in your workplace before your employees start sending in their resignation letters.
These are just some of the signs of a toxic work environment. When you see these phenomenons happening too frequently over a prolonged period of time, that’s when you need to accept that your work environment is toxic and it is affecting your employees negatively.
7 Ways To Handle A Toxic Work Environment & Resolve Conflicts
Now that you know what a toxic work environment looks like, let’s take a look at how as a manager, you can take necessary actions to change your team’s work environment and make it more fun and collaborative.
Create A Safe Environment For Communication
First and foremost, you must create a safe environment where your team members will feel comfortable sharing their thoughts without the fear of judgment and reprimand or admonishment. To do this, you need to position yourself as a team leader who is supportive, compassionate and willing to listen to others.
In addition to this, you should set up confidential, anonymous channels of communication so that employees can freely share feedback on what it is like to work with a particular colleague, or how they feel in their current job role.
Find Out The Main Reasons Behind The Conflicts
As a manager, you need to dig deep to find out the underlying causes of conflicts within your team. It is quite possible that a disgruntled employee is responding negatively in the workplace due to personal problems at home.
While it is necessary that your team members keep their professional life and personal life separate, you may still need to find out where their frustration is coming from, so you can help guide them and create a supportive environment where they can stay focused on the tasks assigned to them instead of taking it out on others.
Plan Team Outings Or Fun Activities To Foster Bonding
Another way you can help create a collaborative work environment and foster bonding among your teammates is by planning fun, engaging activities for the whole team. When your employees are creating happy memories together, they may feel more inclined to support one another during stressful times.
Pair Cooperative Team Members Together On The Same Project
There is a saying that “one rotten apple spoils the whole barrel”. As a manager, you must recognize your team members as human beings who have complex emotions and differing perspectives and opinions which may not be aligned with your ideals.
However, if some of your team members are unable to put their differences aside while at work, it may be necessary to separate them and pair up cooperative team mates together on the same project.
Give Direct Feedback And Be Clear About The Consequences
If the above strategies do not work, then you will need to be direct about your feedback on your team’s performance with all of your team members. Be open about your expectations, express your thoughts on the current state of matters and be clear about the consequences.
When doing this, take care to support the team members who have been cooperative, and clearly guide the ones who are causing the problems. Document their actions and consistently review employee performance so you can ensure team collaboration and productivity.
Recognize And Reward Team Members For Their Contributions
Research has often shown that human beings respond to positive feedback more enthusiastically than towards negative feedback. That means you must create a culture where team members feel recognized for their contributions.
There are several ways you can make your team members feel valued for their work. Check out our tutorial here to get creative employee reward ideas that can help you foster a happy, positive work environment effortlessly.
Offboard Problematic Employees With Respect And Compassion
Offboarding an employee, or terminating an employee, should always be the last course of action when handling a toxic work environment. You should only come to this decision when all other efforts have failed. After all, not all employees will be best suited for your team, or share the same vision as your organization.
In such cases, you may need to part ways with the employee with proper respect and compassion. Read our detailed guide on employee offboarding to learn how to terminate a difficult employee without creating a negative situation.
Manage Your Team Better By Promoting Workplace Inclusivity
Ultimately, toxic work environments are the results of a workplace that lacks the acceptance of differing personalities, perspectives and opinions. That’s why in order to prevent a toxic work environment from building in the first place, you should put effort into promoting workplace inclusivity.