The toxic workplace

By Klaus Döring

I wrote innumerable columns about it during the past. I have experienced it myself – no matter where in this world. Now at the age of 70, I have survived it.

Communication issues including poor communication, a lack of communication and miscommunication are some of the most common challenges in the workplace – indeed, in the world today.

Problems with communication and relationships: Just as in any other aspect of life, strong working relationships really matter. Not only do they help overcome stress and improve mental health in the workplace, they also contribute to a professional workplace environment and underpin positive employee behavior.

A toxic workplace may lack clear goals or fail to communicate them effectively, leading to confusion and frustration among employees. They don’t know what their job entails and what counts as success or failure in their tasks. Clear goals are essential for a healthy workplace.

A toxic work environment is one where negative behaviors—such as manipulation, bullying, yelling, and so on—are so intrinsic to the culture of the organization that a lack of productivity, a lack of trust, high stress levels, infighting, and discrimination become the norm.

Toxicity in the workplace is, sadly, a very common phenomenon. In this article, we explored the three main root causes of it: a corrupt culture, poor leadership, and harmful employees. A corrupt culture can show these two symptoms: the weaponization of cultural values, or a lack of integration within the company.

Toxic bosses often feel the need to control every aspect of an employee’s work. They may constantly check in to ask for updates, question your abilities, demand that you add them to every email and discourage you from making decisions without their input or supervision.

If you notice your boss is undermining your authority or diminishing the value of your contributions, that is a sign of jealousy. Your boss may challenge your decisions, micromanage your work, or take credit for your ideas, all of which can erode trust and create a toxic work environment.

An overwhelming workload can lead to burnout, decreased productivity, and a negative impact on employee health and happiness. It’s common for some employees to feel burdened by the sheer volume of tasks they’re given, leading to a decline in workplace satisfaction.

Silence should raise suspicion because it is a form of workplace retaliation. If your employer, supervisors, or colleagues suddenly ignore you after submitting a complaint, this should raise a red flag. Isolation or silent treatment is often a subtle sign of retaliation.

What makes your work easier? Stop Multitasking. This habit may make you feel like you’re getting more done, but it’s actually slowing you down and making your work harder than it needs to be. So do your best to focus on one task until it’s done, and then move onto the next thing. You’ll find your mind is clear and your work is better (and easier).

War at the workplace doesn’t help any side: the employee or the employer.


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