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10 Alarming Signs of a Toxic Workplace Culture

Toxic workplace culture is a sign of poor leadership and a result of long-term neglect. No two workplace cultures are the same, but they have one thing in common – the employees are not engaged. Employees want a positive work environment where they can work freely without any trivial restrictions from


The effects of negative workplace culture can have a huge impact often contributing to increased employee turnover and decreased motivation. However, because a strong corporate culture is an afterthought, many companies fall into the trap of contributing to a toxic culture.

The trap of toxic workplace culture looms every business and you should not ignore it. Start observing the signs of toxic workplace culture and take the right action. Here are a few signs of a toxic workplace culture that must not be ignored.

1. Unimpeded Power Dynamics

Power dynamics is the way people use or abuse their authority. Many managers are unaware of the fact that their power impacts their social interactions with employees and how employees don’t feel comfortable in saying ‘NO’ to them. As a result, managers don’t get the feedback they need when they misstep, and the employees tolerate disrespectful behaviors they would never accept from others.

2. Inauthentic Leaders

These leaders lack honesty, integrity, and transparency. They will say one thing and yet do something completely different. They are first to speak and last to act. In fact, employees don’t trust them. People tend to follow inspirational leaders who practice what they speak. They trust leaders who don’t just simply say the right things but also do the right things.

3. Leadership Cliques

One of the most obvious signs of toxic workplace culture is leadership cliques. The leaders will defend poor behavior from within their clique rather than protecting the integrity of the company. They will place blame and accuse instead of accepting responsibility for their mistakes.

4. Unmotivated Employees

When employees disconnect from a company, it is very obvious. They will not feel connected to their work, waste their time, and have no interest in the values and missions of the company. Subsequently, they will spend more time gossiping, infecting others, and hindering the productivity of other employees. These employees are simply filling their time until they decide it’s time to make a move and find another opportunity.

5. Poor Leadership and Management

Poor leadership and management skills can have a drastic impact and infect the entire organization. Poor leadership affects your company’s ability to retain employees while lowering employee motivation, morale, and productivity. Leaders should be capable of leading with productivity in the workplace.

6. High Turnover

The most obvious reason why people leave their job is because of a bad boss or immediate supervisor. Poor company culture makes employees feel demotivated and unhappy. This is one of the reasons why they start looking for better jobs and promoting the poor image of your organization. Your turnover rates can be a huge indicator of your culture.

7. Employee Engagement is Always Low

Engaged employees are hard-working and more committed to work. But when engagement decreases, it clearly indicates that employees are no longer interested in their work or your company. They start avoiding company events or functions and maintaining distance from employee engagement activities.

8. Communication becomes One-way Street

Internal communication and employee engagement go hand-in-hand. In a company with a toxic workplace culture, managers and employees seldom interact. And when they do interact, it’s a one-way communication where the manager orders the employees what to do and what not to do. In such a scenario, the employee is offered a little or no room to convey his ideas freely.

9. Fear-Based Culture

Ultimatums, threats, and intimidation become the common ways used by management to abuse their power to harness a fear-based culture. This influences and sustains toxicity in the company’s culture. Employees start leaving your organization as soon as they find a better job and start spoiling your online


10. No Team Spirit

Team spirit is critical to keep the company culture alive and lack of it not only disengages employees but also makes it hard for them to spend eight to nine hours in the office in the same environment with little or no interactions with the team members. This further contributes to dropping morale and draining


The Bottom Line

The best way to keep these red flags in check is by enforcing a positive work environment to ensure that employees and managers are on the same page. Conducting employee engagement surveys to seek suggestions can be a good way to identify what’s going wrong. Remember, no one will like to spend 40+

hours a week at an awful place.

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