Slideshow 7 signs of a toxic culture

Published
  • August 04 2017, 11:19am EDT
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7 signs of a toxic culture

If employees dread Fridays just as much as Mondays, there may be some toxic stew cooking in the kitchen, says Bernard Marr, an expert in strategy, performance management, analytics, KPIs and big data. Marr points out some of the more easily missed warning signs of a poisonous working environment – red flags benefit and HR decision-makers should be aware of.
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Dysfunctional relationships

There are always going to be multiple personalities in an office, but sometimes the combination can result in a toxic environment, creating gossip, cliquish behaviors, favoritism and unwarranted criticisms.
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Pervasive poor communication

Maintaining a high level of communication is one of the keys to a pleasant working environment. A workplace where employees get little to no feedback, or where bosses and co-workers are excessively cold and distant, can be a toxic environment.
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Blatant unfairness

The common phrase “nobody ever said life was fair” may be heard from time to time, but if a manager treats employees radically different – think idea theft, pointing fingers – the workplace environment may be toxic.
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Chronic high stress

While there are many work environments that are prone to high stress, there should still be limits. If employees are routinely exposed to high stress situations with no opportunity for down time, that too can lead to a more toxic atmosphere.
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Abusive bosses or co-workers

The obvious should never be tolerated in a workplace: sexual harassment, racism, sexism, ageism … but keep an eye on other emotions that may also lead to a highly volatile atmosphere, including high aggression, intimidation, unreasonable expectations or blatant lack of empathy.
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Immoral or illegal activities

If something the company or an individual is doing is wrong, employees don’t have to be a part of it. Marr notes: “The person watching a crime happen can be just as culpable as the person committing it.”
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Physical danger

If employees are put at risk due to unsafe working conditions, they should leave ASAP. No job is worth your life or long-term health.
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