20 Indicators of a Toxic Workplace

The broad belief that information is power is a belief that will drive someone hoard knowledge.  This creates chaos and confusion but also gives those who hoard knowledge a sense of power and control.  It increases risk to the organization because of all that is hidden.  It sets a foundation for political espionage and mind games. Time is spent scheming or trying to find answers versus building products and services that the market needs.

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20 Indicators of a Toxic Workplace

Outside of necessary analytical situations, comparison is a killjoy. Yet, it is a tool often used in work places as a method to evaluate how well someone does their job. This might be effective if objective measurements were installed and humans were not in charge.  In healthy organizations, this system can sometimes go badly.  In toxic organizations, it can become a tool of political power and control… it can also drive pressure to support unethical behaviors. 

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20 Indicators of a Toxic Workplace

This one presents almost as a caste system where a particular set of people are off limits for anyone outside a culturally-understood range: job grade, levels down on the org chart, or certain pre-existing associations that allow access.  As a result, there is often lost productivity, decreased quality, and higher levels of dissatisfaction because those who have the answers, often won’t speak to those who need their input.

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Trust at Work Survey

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Last year I conducted an initial, small sample survey on conflict at work.  One of the findings that stood out was in regard to two questions on trust:  

  • Do you believe your peers and coworkers trust you?  96% of responders said yes.

  • Do you trust your peers and coworkers?  Responses dropped by a clear 30%. 

I want to better understand this dynamic: Is this an indicator of a broader commonality?  Or, is this really not all that common?  

I would love your help by taking and sharing this survey – it is completely anonymous & takes 30 to 60 seconds of time to answer.  

Survey Link: Trust at Work

20 Indicators of a Toxic Workplace

Secure cultures accept that mistakes will happen & encourage sharing the lessons learned. A symptom of a toxic culture may be one where decisions are often passed along or continually delayed. There may also be a lot of finger pointing and confusion. Successes are claimed - maybe by many. Mistakes and failures are blamed on others. Those who do own their mistakes, may be “punished” with poor annual reviews, blocked assignments, or by being made a scapegoat.

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