Not everybody wakes up on Monday morning and whistles their way into the office. Not everyone is thoroughly excited or passionate about their job. However, there is a marked difference between routine workplace difficulties and a working environment that strains you to the point of illness.
When you first start a job, it might be hard to see the red flags because you’re so excited and maybe even feel privileged to be at that workplace. But with time, you may begin to see more clearly and realize that things aren’t what they seemed from the outside. These environments usually tend to get worse the longer you stay.
One or more of these factors may mean that you are working in the land of toxicity.
Your boss has poor leadership skills
Almost every time, toxic work environments are derived from how the employers treat their employees. Statistics show that the major reason employees leave a place of work is because of a poor relationship with a boss.
Examples of poor leadership traits could be bullying and favouritism, narcissism, criticism, complaining, impatience or badmouthing.
Management bullies or tolerates bullying
Bullying can take various forms; you might be constantly talked down at (even jokingly), or out rightly screamed at. This is one of the most glaring signs that you work in a toxic environment
Where management itself does not engage in bullying, it could tolerate or even encourage it in the organization. If the people who constantly get praise or promotion are the people who are ruthless and cruel, then you work in an establishment that encourages bullying.
Also, if bullying is brought to the attention of management and nothing is done about it, that is a toxic workplace. Action to correct bullying should go beyond meetings and admonition; in an organization that cares about the wellbeing of its people, constant culprits should be punished, and seen to have been punished. Bullying should (ideally) carry the same consequence that insubordination does.
No respect for work/life balance
In certain line of work, you might be required to work lengthy hours; this is understandable. However, there are ways that an organization can alleviate the stress that may come with a time-demanding job and demonstrate that it respects your time and your personal life.
Are you required to sit around in the office till late just because your boss is still around? Do you spend minutes to hours a day simply waiting to see ‘oga’?
How does organization treat you when you are working till late? Is provision made for you to get home safely? Does anyone even care to ask how you will be getting home?
Loss of human touch
Generally look out for the absence of human touch; that feeling that employees are dispensable objects. For instance, note how your boss reacts when you call in sick. A poor leader may complain about the work that may need to be done in your absence.
You are being micromanaged
This may seem inconsequential at first but can really contribute to an employee’s overall dissatisfaction in the long run.
If your boss is constantly looking over your shoulder while you’re working or constantly calling to check on the progress of a task, this could quickly become very overwhelming. A good leader should be able to trust you to do the job you were hired to do.
All sticks no carrots
A good work environment should encourage employees by publicly recognizing hard work. If you work in an office where the only time you receive feedback on your work is when you have done something wrong, this can take its toll on your confidence and security as a whole.
Also, if you work in an environment where it is normal for management to publicly scold employees, it may mean that there is little or no respect for employees as individuals.
Your boss plays favourites
It may be natural to have a favourite among a group of people, but if the team can name a particular person as the favourite, because of clear benefits, then there is a problem.
Management encourages unhealthy competition
While some competition in the workplace is a great idea, your teammate should not feel like a battlefield opponent.
A good leader also should not constantly compare you with a colleague and undermine your abilities, especially in front of your colleagues.
What happens when you speak up
In an organization that truly seeks advancement, the opinion and ideas of employees should be golden. You should not be ignored, or worse, shut down, when you tactfully and respectfully present your views to your boss.
If this happens, it shows that the organization is merely interested in getting the work done and nothing else.
You begin to question your worth
No employer should ever make you feel like you’re not good enough for the role you are in, especially if you can honestly say you are working as hard as you can. Many times, bosses are just not good leaders and you should try not to take it personally and let it affect the way you view yourself.
Resist the feeling of anxiety or worry that everything you are doing is wrong. Never let it get to that point.
If after reading this, you sense that you work in a toxic work environment, it is because you probably do. What you do with this information is entirely up to you and would differ based on personal circumstances, but remember that your gut and your instinct exist for a reason.
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