Toxic work culture is bad for both you and your company

Do you ever have the feeling that you have to pull all your energy together in order to be able to go to work? Do you have anxiety when entering your workplace? A toxic work culture can have a huge negative impact on you personally if it isn’t addressed probably and in time. 

This article about why we get a toxic work culture and what you can do to improve the situation. There is no need for being hopeless about the situation because a lot can be done with the right help. We are often in touch with toxic work cultures because many of the companies that ask us to help them are in a state of distress. It is often a situation, where it is difficult to see a way out, both for the management team and the employees. 

What is toxic work culture?

There are many different definitions of what a toxic workplace is Wikipedia defines it in one way and you can find a lot of more specialised definitions depending on the industry. We like the general definition that Wikipedia has:

A toxic workplace is a workplace that is marked by significant drama and infighting, where personal battles often harm productivity. Toxic workplaces are often considered the result of toxic employers and/or toxic employees who are motivated by personal gain (power, money, fame or special status), use unethical, mean-spirited and sometimes illegal means to manipulate and annoy those around them; and whose motives are to maintain or increase power, money or special status or divert attention away from their performance shortfalls and misdeeds. Toxic workers do not recognize a duty to the organization for which they work or their co-workers in terms of ethics or professional conduct toward others. Toxic workers define relationships with co-workers, not by organizational structure but by co-workers they favour and those they do not like or trust.

Why do we have a Toxic Work Culture?

Gugin has been asked many times to help fix a toxic work culture. One of the first things we do is to find out how widespread the problem is and why the company has ended up in that unfortunate situation. Surprisingly, we have rarely had a situation where almost everybody found they were having a toxic work culture. It is usually restricted to certain professional groups, organisational layers, genders, age groups, races or management layers. No matter how widespread a bad working environment is it has to be addressed as it has serious consequences for the people involved, but also for the company performance.


Most Leaders and Managers are not aware that the working conditions are bad – so tell them

Unless the middle managers are feeling the toxic work culture themselves they will usually not be aware that it is such a big problem. And it is not because they are ignorant, but often we see that employees who are suffering fra bad working environments are reluctant to tell their bosses or superiors. This is because they don’t want to expose themselves as weak or because they feel that they are alone having that particular feeling.

Gugin will like to help to get you a better working environment

Blow the whistle and give us the name and email address of a manager or leader who should be reminded about improving the work culture. You are not obliged to give us your own name and email address but we will be grateful to be able to get in touch with you as well in case we need clarification or we can help you personally in some way. We know it takes a lot to step forward. It takes strength and that is difficult when you might feel weak.

Fill in the form below and send it. We will then send an anonymised email to the person you have indicated where we in general terms tell about the importance of having a great work culture and how you as a manager can spot if you have a toxic work culture. Finally, we will invite to a conversation to discuss things further. We will not tell anything about we have been encouraged to write to that particular person.

5 + 7 =

You are not alone

A lot of people are working in toxic work cultures but not many people are talking about it publicly. They might be afraid of losing their job, be considered weak or lose the opportunity for a promotion or pay raise. But it has to be addressed, therefore this initiative!

It is unlike you are having a toxic work culture because someone wants it to be that way, although it sometimes is the case. Most likely you have this work culture because no one is aware of it or know what to do about it. Gugin is specialised in developing a winning corporate culture. That also means we know how to make a cultural turn-around in your organisation. Everybody wins, there are no losers.

We will be looking forward to hearing from you.


Gugin can help you develop a non-toxic work culture

It is almost impossible to change a toxic work culture yourself. There are too many feeling and emotions in play and the level of tolerance is usually very low. 

The first task in easing the situation is to re-establish hope, that the situation can be improved. It might sound trivial, but if you don’t have any hope there is no reason even trying to change the current situation. We start by making a high-level analysis of the situation and identify 1-3 areas where we can make a visible, tangible and important positive change very quickly. When we have established hope that the toxic work culture can be eased we can start working on facilitating a permanent cultural change. We can only facilitate that change if the organisation wants it too – not only the management. That is why we need a certain level of hope and willingness to work towards a better organisational culture.

Dr Finn Majlergaard
Dr Finn Majlergaard

CEO Gugin, Professor, Keynote Speaker, Author

  • We align your corporate culture with your strategy.
  • We take you safely through major changes in your organisation.
  • We develop the crucial cultural intelligence in your organisation by training your employees and leaders
  • We help you develop a competitive advantage with a unique corporate culture

Gugin has helped more than 600 companies around the world creating a winning corporate culture.

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