How To Avoid Toxicity At Work
How can you avoid toxicity at work?
- Prioritize training
- Encourage open communication
- Walk the talk
- Recognize and reward
- Don’t play favorites
- Empower people to deal with conflict
- Focus on your work
- Practice how to confront
- Accept your limits
- Create boundaries in your work-life balance
It’s no secret that happy employees are key to having a great, productive workplace. And yet, it’s difficult to create an environment where employees genuinely feel happy to work. One of the biggest hurdles is workplace toxicity, which is, unfortunately, a common reality for many offices. There are many factors contributing to this workplace problem. If you want to know how to avoid toxicity at work, follow our tips below:
How to avoid toxicity at work as a leader:
As a leader, you are in the best position to not only avoid workplace toxicity — but make the right changes to create a more positive, happy workplace. Here is how to prevent toxicity from affecting your team:
The first step to creating a good workspace is giving your team the tools they need to succeed from the get-go. Prioritize their training from the moment they onboard, and make sure they have people they can rely on for help and guidance as they adjust to their new role. Also, be sure to outline your expectations and their responsibilities clearly, so they know what role they are meant to play within your team.
Encourage open communication
Always encourage your team members to practice open communication with each other. This is important even for seasoned team members. Maintaining honesty and consistent communication with your team will help build up trust amongst yourselves, and will also ensure that everyone is updated on potential problems and conflicts.
Consider having regular check-ins with your team. Try to avoid speaking too much about work, and instead focus on getting them to express their thoughts and feelings about their workload and job expectations. You can also encourage them to share ideas, which allows them to engage with your management process and makes them important contributors to the success of the business.
Walk the talk
Even leaders have to follow the same rules, culture, and practices that the business expects of its team members. That said, it’s important to walk the talk. If you want to have kind team members, then you have to be a kind leader. The same thing goes for every value you’re trying to instill into the company culture. Hold yourself accountable to the same standards as what’s expected of everyone else on the team.
Recognize and reward
If you see your people dedicating their time and effort to provide excellent performances, then give them the recognition they deserve. Doing this encourages them to keep up the good work, and makes them feel more appreciated at work.
Say “thank you” to those who do their job well, provide incremental rewards and bonuses for consistently good performance, and also promote those who exceed expectations — it’s an excellent way of rewarding those who go the extra mile.
Don’t play favorites
Avoid favoritism at all costs. Doing this can alienate one team member while leaving the others feeling underappreciated. It can also foster negative feelings between team members, which we want to prevent.
The best way to do this is by celebrating their diversity. Know what each member contributes, what parts of the job they excel at, and so on. Then, value them for their unique talents, their strengths, and the effort they put in. Be sure to show this to the whole team, so no one feels unseen by their leader.
Empower people to deal with conflict
Finally, give your people what they need to deal with internal conflicts the right way. If they know how to manage conflict, have productive and clear conversations about the problem, and know-how to avoid harassment and discrimination, it’ll reduce the risk of workplace toxicity greatly. Take the time to establish training sessions, and regular meetings with team members to discuss how to troubleshoot conflict positively.
How to avoid toxicity at work as a team member:
As a team member, you also play a role in preventing workplace toxicity. The best way to avoid a build-up of it at work is:
Focus on your work
It’s important to know when to stand your ground during a disagreement with your teammates. But, if you’re engaging in a power struggle, set that aside for now. It’s better to focus on your work and avoid pointless arguments over small spheres of influence that lead to nothing.
Practice how to confront
There will be times when the work environment becomes tense. When it does, it’s essential to find a balance, and avoid adding fuel to the fire. Consider the points and solutions you want to make for the situation if you’re involved.
Try to avoid heating things up by complaining, blaming, or being too emotionally charged during discussions. Run through your contributions ahead of time to help you form a well-thought-out argument and feel more confident, ultimately helping you be more effective in your delivery.
Accept your limits
Your mental and emotional state can also inadvertently contribute to workplace toxicity. So, be sure to know your limits, accept them, and don’t burn yourself out trying to surpass them. Know that some things are simply out of your control and that no amount of hard work can change some problems. For example, some teammates may not be willing to listen, or you may be going against processes that you have no room for maneuver on, or you lack information to make the best decision for your tasks.
Create boundaries in your work-life balance
Likewise, the best way to protect your mental health is by establishing strong boundaries between your personal and professional life. It’s one thing to vent about a bad day at work — it’s another thing entirely if it’s consuming all of your thoughts and conversations in your free time.
It’s not healthy to dwell on office conflicts and problems that are out of your control for too long. Try to find a balance between venting and de-stressing from work, and focusing on positive things when you clock out from your job. It gives you some time to relax — and overall, you’ll start to feel better about the obstacles you’re facing at work.
There’s a lot of work to be done to create a happy, productive workplace. Following this simple yet effective guide on how to avoid toxicity at work will do wonders in preventing toxic behavior from becoming a trend in your office. In turn, you’ll create a culture and a company that’s better equipped to reach its goals.