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Coping In a Toxic Workplace

The manifestation of a toxic workplace is witnessing the decline of self-esteem in co-workers as they endured month after month of poor leadership and dysfunction in their company.   Watching the change to the countenance of each of these employees as their situation grew worse.  The physical manifestations of the negativity along with their self-worth difference is evident.

Many of them feel trapped without the confidence to find new positions while others even leave without having new jobs lined up because they recognized that the toll the toxic environment was taking had become far too great to stay another day.

The most important thing is to recognize when working in a toxic environment is that it is NOT a reflection of who you truly are.  Often times in a toxic workplace there is an abundance of tearing employees down, passive aggressive leadership, ambivalent management, conniving politics, and abundant negativity.  It is imperative that you learn to separate the negativity you are swimming in daily from the reality of who you truly are.

I personally think this demoralizing effect is the biggest danger to staying long-term in any toxic environment, and to combat this you will have to find ways to daily remind yourself that you are not a reflection of your current surroundings.   Taking time out each workday to take a short walk by yourself or quiet meditation is a great way to detach and allow for positive self-talk to remind yourself of the qualities you possess that make you amazing.  Find ways to remind yourself of who you truly are.

Never allow yourself to become less than who you are meant to be out of anger or spite for your current employer.  Always conduct yourself with integrity and always put in your very best effort toward the job you were hired to do.  It is easy to fall into the trap of giving up on the job, but the bottom line is that as long as you are taking a paycheck you have an obligation to give an honest day’s work.  Don’t allow yourself to justify personal bad behavior on the failures that exist your company’s leadership.  I realize that at times it feels like the only way is to fight back in a toxic situation, but the reality is that doing so only hurts your own integrity.  Know that your reputation will continue far beyond the company you are with today, and nothing is worth trading your integrity over.

Phil Heft – Management Specialist; pheft@hotmail.com

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