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Corporate Culture: 5 Mistakes That Can Lead to Toxic Workplace Culture.

January 19, 2023 by  
Filed under Business, Opinion, Tech/Internet, Weekly Columns

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( Whether you’re working from a central location or have your remote team meet up at serviced offices near you, you’ll want to foster a culture and workplace that’s healthy and productive. The best way to do that is by avoiding the toxic mistakes that veer you off course. Here are five all-too-common ones to watch out for:

1. Allowing low enthusiasm to spread

Attitudes, like viruses or the latest cat meme, spread quickly. That’s why it’s so important to regulate them by encouraging the best and discouraging the worst. High up on the list of “worst” social contagions is low enthusiasm.

Luckily, it’s easy to spot. Are your employees excited to work, or do they look like they’re about to visit the dentist? Part of the reason low enthusiasm and other toxic attitudes spread so quickly is because of feedback loops. Basically, one person’s low morale feeds into another’s, and so on. Soon enough, you find yourself walking into a gloomy room full of dead-eyed workers. This is not only unpleasant, but it hinders productivity. So, make sure to keep this toxic attitude out of the office before it wreaks havoc.

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2. Allowing poor management to continue

Dismissing employee concerns – or, worse yet, humiliating them for bringing up their concerns – is one example of poor management. Being unavailable is another. Unsurprisingly, these kinds of poor management lead to toxic workplaces. 

What might be surprising, however, is that the toxicity doesn’t stay contained within management. If those in leadership roles behave in toxic ways, that behavior filters down to the employees they manage. When employees start humiliating or dismissing other employees, that breaks down effective communication and cooperation. Ultimately, it leads to lowered productivity and a very unpleasant work environment.

3. Allowing high employee turnover

If employees come and go every few months, something’s wrong. Not only does a toxic workplace cause new recruits to leave early, but it also has them reconsidering the industry as a whole. Furthermore, as word of your company’s high turnover spreads, it can make it much harder to attract new talent.

Here, it’s important to note that having high employee turnover and allowing it to continue are two separate things. You can stop the latter through effective exit interviews that pinpoint the cause of employee dissatisfaction. Additionally, sitting down with long-term employees can help get a sense of what’s working and what needs improvement. 

4. Not creating proper boundaries

Just as good fences make good neighbors, healthy boundaries make healthy workplaces. Of course, the opposite is also true: toxic boundaries make for an unpleasant workplace. Mostly, that shows up in the form of putting work above everything else and having unrealistic expectations. 

For example, expecting employees to answer emails immediately during non-work hours shows a lack of respect for boundaries. Assuming that a Friday afternoon task will be miraculously finished by Monday morning is unrealistic. Both result from poorly established boundaries.

5. Not allowing mistakes

As the (useful) cliche goes, you may need to break a few eggs to make an omelet. In other words, mistakes are an integral part of any product or service. Not allowing adequate room for error is not only counterproductive, but it’s also unrealistic. 

It’s counterproductive because it causes people to fall into perfectionism and analysis paralysis, which significantly halts progress. It’s unrealistic because, well, even geniuses make mistakes. 

Building a healthy workplace means avoiding unhealthy errors. Keep the five toxic mistakes above in mind so you can prevent the worst and build the best.

Staff Writer; Sherry Baker

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