There is a saying, “people quit managers, not jobs,” and this can be true. Many people leave jobs because of relationship breakdowns with their work colleagues. If the problems aren’t nipped in the bud, the environment can quickly become toxic. Stressful environments are not productive and can do a lot of damage to a business.
The problem with a stressful environment is that it affects everyone – from the management down to the employees. And the biggest problem is that there may be good people who will be forced to jump ship if it continues. So how do you turn things around?
Just because things look bleak doesn’t mean you can’t salvage the situation. You can! Here are a few things you can do to keep a toxic workplace from spreading and doing damage.
What is your goal as a company? What do you aim to achieve with your team? While the expected result may be desirable, the way to get there may not be ideal for a healthy working environment.
Examine that and make necessary changes to your mission statement. Have everyone embrace this and move forward together. If everybody is on the same team they might be kinder to one another.
It has always been said that if you want people to become more positive, you have to show positivity yourself. Come into work with a smile and start greeting people as you pass by them. Treat others warmly and take the time to hear their feedback and ideas. You’ll be surprised to see how big of an influence something like this can be to the mood of everyone.
A negative working environment is created over time, so steering it back to the positive path will also take time. Prepare yourself to get down and dirty in order to salvage the relationships and ultimately create a more optimistic outlook for everyone.
You may need to cull some staff or move them to another department to try and cleanse the environment. Often times there is a ringleader and if you can get to this person the rest of the staff may return to normal. Just remember this is your business and you worked hard for it and you don’t have to let toxic staff ruin it for you.
The one thing that some people fail to do is communicate. Communication is key in everything. You’ll get to know the thoughts and observations of the people around you by listening to them, and they will better understand your decisions when they hear your explanations straight from your mouth.
When you speak freely and allow others the opportunity, it can keep everyone invested in the business and the company.
You have team members who constantly do a good job, but when they don’t feel valued for what they offer, they may turn sour. It is expected of them to do what they were hired for, but they deserve to be given a tap on the back when they go above and beyond. That does wonders!
Acknowledging accomplishments makes everybody feel good. Perhaps during a team meeting you could mention those who have done well for the week or month and watch morale boom.
If people are given a lot of tasks over and above their job description, it can be very difficult to maintain a positive working environment. Evaluate the workload of your staff and when needed, hire more temps or contractors to evenly distribute the weight during spike times such as coming up to Christmas or Easter break.
Nothing contributes to a toxic environment more than politics. When your other team members see you give your undivided attention to just one of them, the remainder can form a toxic group. Feelings of resentment can propel people into behaviors that are not conducive to a productive work environment. Keep this in mind and ensure you treat all employees the same.
They say pressure makes diamonds, but sometimes it can reduce good people into rubble as well. It’s better if you achieve the former by being proactive in creating a positive environment for everyone and promoting an inclusive work environment.