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Empowering Managers: How to Eradicate Workplace Toxicity

Every organization or business in the world is in operation to be profitable and successful. There is no argument about that. However, how an organization creates, nurtures, or neglects their culture invites plenty of challenges.

Ironically enough, how we manage culture impacts this shared goal of being successful and profitable, I guess that concept can get lost in translation in day to day tasks and responsibilities when managers and leaders don't know how to gauge the opportunity entirely.

As someone who has personally and physically labored entry, mid-level, and senior-level roles, I can tell you that a toxic workplace is the #1 reason why businesses don't scale.

The toxicity in a workforce environment spreads from person to person until it becomes "the way we do things." Nothing can embody failure, more than this!

I can recall several examples of toxicity in the workplace in my long experience: 

  • Little to no investment in training or development
  • Band-aid fixes to serious dysfunctional issues
  • Disrespectful communication
  • Insubordination
  • Leaders who said one thing, but did another 
  • Secrecy and whispers isolating other management team members out of an "end game" plan
  • Physical and theoretical closed doors 
  • Gossip 
  • Promotions promised that is not followed through on
  • Inconsistent rules and processes
  • Preferential treatment
Empowering Managers: How to Eradicate Workplace Toxicity

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You Name It, I've Seen It!

Outside of my own experiences, many studies have proven toxic environments to be counterproductive to the bottom line, yet the toxicity out in the workforce continues, nonetheless.

Why does it continue?

Well, it continues for several reasons:

  • Top leadership doesn't relate to everyone beneath them, so it does not affect them personally or professionally. Hence, there's no reason for the change.
  • Ego, leadership doesn't want to admit or own the toxicity that exists, so they ignore it. 
  • Management's old habits are difficult to change, and they have never been required to change. 
  • Team members who have perceived limitations or barriers feel that this is the best they can do.
  • People on the team are dysfunctional and don't see a problem with the toxicity. It's the norm.

These are just some of the reasons why a toxic environment would remain active and without any effective change.

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As You Can See, It can be Complicated, but not Impossible to Overcome. We have Answers.

According to an empirical study by Amna Anjum entitled combating a toxic workplace (2017), it was "demonstrated that the dimensions of toxic workplace environment have a significant negative relationship with job productivity, while job stress was proved as a statistically significant mediator between dimensions of the toxic work environment and job productivity. Finally, we conclude that organizations need to combat/cleanse the roots of toxic work environments to ensure their prosperity and success."

The subject of a toxic workplace is a significant one, no matter what concerns you: profit, culture, or long term sustainability.

As a manager, your role is incredibly important, and you can make a significant difference in a toxic environment, however, keep in mind that to change, the problem needs to be addressed at the root like the study notes.

You can make a difference by doing the following: 

  • Speak up for your teams. 
  • Don't let toxic behavior be acceptable; it's not! 
  • Lead by example: be kind, transparent, and solution-oriented. 
  • Treat those who report to you well. You will stand out among other managers. 
  • Meet with your team routinely and discuss the environment openly. 

Ultimately, There are a Few Things that Always End Up Taking Place in Toxic Environments

  • All good talent is lost
  • The business becomes stagnant
  • The company is left only with those who can't move forward due to their perceived limitations like education, training, and age.
  • Occasionally, the top leadership has a change of heart and can see their business failing and make a radical change in management-leadership methodology and execution.

Go out and be the change you want to see in the world. Where you invest your time is your choice; make it count. 

Dr. Mayra Austin
Featured Uplyrn Expert
Dr. Mayra Austin
Management Expert
Subjects of Expertise: Change Management, Governance, Sustainability
Featured Uplyrn Expert
Dr. Mayra Austin
Management Expert

Subjects of Expertise

Change Management
Governance
Sustainability

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