6 Signs You Work in a Toxic Environment

Oct 23 • Career Planning, Life Planning • 209 Views • No Comments on 6 Signs You Work in a Toxic Environment

And it May Be Time to Leave…

I ran across an article the other day in the Wall Street Journal about how Americans are happier at work than previous years, though it’s only 51% of workers saying they are very or somewhat satisfied with their jobs.  Further, the 51% may be happier if only due to lowered expectations.  After years of down-sizing, no promotions, and minimal or no salary increases, employees may be somewhat shell shocked and just be “happy” to have a job.

However, I advise you not to settle.  It may be helpful to review the following 6 signs that you may be working in a toxic climate.  Ask yourself if they apply to you and if leaving might be the right move.

  1. Actions Don’t Match Words – the walk doesn’t sync with the talk

For at least three decades, numerous CEO s and their companies have touted that “employees are our strongest asset” and then turn around and treat them as liabilities in constant mergers and downsizings.  This is one example of the walk not matching the talk.  Is your company management saying one thing and then operating in direct opposition to that?  Does this happen fairly routinely?  Not a good sign.

  1. Highly Competitive Internal Environment, where back-stabbing is an art form

America is built on a competitive mindset.  Competition can bring out the best in people. I believe the best companies focus on eternally competing.  Internal competition can lead to better products and solutions.  However, if the internal competition is ratcheted up to such a level where it harms collaboration, that’s a bad thing.

  1. Company’s Values Don’t Align with Yours

This may be the last straw for you.  I’ve seen clients who will put up with many issues at work, but once there is a severe disconnect between their personal values and the way their company is operating, it’s over.  Can you be authentic with your management style within the culture?  How do people treat each other and how do they treat customers?

  1. Too Much bull* – Combined with no decisions or action

It’s no fun to continually do work that doesn’t matter.  If your work is often overlooked or ignored, it may be time to look elsewhere.

  1. No One Listens

I’m not referring to disagreeing viewpoints you may have with your boss or colleagues.  That’s part of the job. It’s when your boss and others don’t really listen to you before responding or making up their minds on key issues.  Sometimes it may be arrogance on the part of your leaders in thinking their way is always best.

  1. Blaming vs. Learning Culture

This creates a very toxic environment.  When things go wrong, or goals aren’t reached; how does your leaderships respond?  Do they try to find someone to blame, perhaps even demote or publicly denounce someone?  Or do they take the issue head-on, fix it, and figure out how to avoid it in the future.   This may take longer, but creates a learning culture.  Just finding someone to blame makes us withdraw and point fingers at each other.

Consider your current situation for the last six to nine months.  How many of these signs are consistent?  If so, are you ready to take a risk and move on – hopefully to a more productive culture where you realize your full potential?   For help with career transitions, contact  Joni Lindquist at jlindquist@makinglifecount.com or 913.345.1881.

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