How To Prevent Yourself From Being In a Toxic Work Environment

About one third or 30% of human life is spent working. Most of us with full time jobs spend more time with out work colleagues than our own families. So it goes without saying that harvesting a positive work environment is instrumental to your overall well being and happiness. Toxic work environments can lead to poor work output, increased stress, and anxiety that can manifest as physical symptoms (abdominal pain, headaches, fatigue).

You don’t have to be part of the drama at work, you can be the shining light that models proper work manners so that no-one in work your work family feels unappreciated, disrespected, or unhappy.

  1. Be Grateful: Saying thank you and acknowledging someone’s hard work goes a long way. People love positive reinforcement for the effort they put into something. This can have far-reaching impact on your career- because people remember when they feel appreciated and acknowledged and they will ultimately be your biggest supporters. This can open doors you can’t even imagine-both now and in the future.
  2. Communicate Effectively: I’ve noticed that some of the biggest issues between coworkers stems from lack of communication. If you feel that someone is not pulling their weight on the team or are performing poorly speak to them directly.  Avoid being aggressive or too confrontational but provide constructive criticism. The biggest mistake I see people do is not confront the person and then go behind their backs to management to complain about them. Behavior like this leads to resentment and distrust. This will inevitably lead to a damaging work atmosphere.  
  3. Be Positive: Positivity is contagious! Do not be that woman gossiping by the water cooler in the break room. You’re better than that. Be the one that sees the good in people. Don’t be a complainer for the sake of complaining. Be fun to work with!
  4. Be Approachable: Be willing to help others and model respect and good manners. Walk around with a smile, and make eye contact with those you pass in the hallways. Try to remember people’s name and call them by their first name when asking a question or speaking to them.
  5. Take responsibility: If you make a mistake, take ownership of your actions. It’s much more admirable and respectful to admit your mistakes than be defensive or worse yet cover it up.
  6. Model a good work ethic: If you expect people to work hard on your team you need to model that same behavior. People love team members who are ready to lend a helping hand and are willing to do tasks that may not be part of their job description. But that’s what it means to be a team player. Remember nothing is beneath you.

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