How To Properly Handle Toxic Work Environments

February 21, 2023

Negative and unhealthy relationships between colleagues, supervisors, or managers characterize a toxic work environment.

In addition, it can be a hostile, aggressive atmosphere where competition and criticism are rampant. 

As a manager or employee, it’s important to recognize the signs of toxic behavior to take steps to address the issue before it becomes an even bigger problem. 

In this article, we’ll discuss how managers and employees can handle toxic relationships, so they don’t negatively impact the workplace.

What Does a Toxic Work Place Look Like?

Toxic workplaces can be difficult to recognize until it’s too late. All workplaces have their stresses and problems, but a toxic work environment affects the mental and physical health of employees.


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It often starts with a culture that values profit over people, where a lack of respect for workers and employees goes unchecked. This might manifest in micro-aggressions.

It could also mean creating an atmosphere where workers feel undermined or belittled if they fail to meet arbitrary goals set by management. 

The key sign of a toxic work environment is when employees feel powerless to make changes, despite feeling uncomfortable and unhappy with working conditions. According to Workhuman, a workplace should strive for mutual respect and understanding between colleagues. If these elements are missing, you’re likely in a toxic workplace.

How to Deal with a Toxic Environment as a Manager

As a manager, creating an inclusive environment for employees and fostering a workplace culture of respect and understanding is important. 

Here are some tips for dealing with a toxic work environment:

  1. Identify the root of the problem – it could be due to how management runs things or the pressure of unrealistic deadlines. Take time to get feedback from your team so you can understand what underlies their unhappiness.
  1. Address any instances of harassment or bullying immediately and make sure employees feel safe to come forward with complaints without fear of retribution.
  1. Establish clear expectations and boundaries – set out rules around behavior, communication between colleagues, and deadlines that everyone should abide by.
  1. Foster open communication across teams – this will help staff express their grievances directly to managers to resolve conflicts quickly and effectively.

How to Deal with a Toxic Environment as an Employee

As an employee, it’s important to remain professional and maintain your well-being in a toxic workplace. Here are some tips for dealing with a toxic environment:

  1. Set boundaries – don’t let others push you beyond your limits or make you do tasks that aren’t part of your job duties.
  1. Speak up – if you experience harassment, bullying, or unfairness, contact HR if necessary.
  1. Connect with supportive people – seek out co-workers who share similar values and build a network of people who will listen and encourage each other during difficult times at work.
  1. Look after yourself mentally – it’s important to prioritize self-care during challenging times. Find activities that help relax and rejuvenate your mind, such as exercise, meditation, or reading a book. 

Foster a Healthy Workplace Today

Toxic work environments can be harmful to both managers and employees. Managers should take the time to listen to their team’s feedback to identify any underlying issues that may contribute to toxic behavior in the workplace. As an employee, you must set boundaries and speak up if necessary to maintain your mental well-being. 

It’s also essential for everyone involved to prioritize self-care activities, which will help reduce stress levels during challenging times at work. We can all strive towards a healthier workplace tomorrow by taking these steps today!

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