Strategies to fix a toxic work culture

It’s not uncommon to find workplaces that put you down and drain you mentally and emotionally. Often, many don’t even know how to describe the exact nature of issues and their aftermath in the workplace. But they know only one thing –they detest the place and are unhappy. If you thought these are stuff that happens only in small offices, you’re wrong. The fact is that some of the biggest corporate houses, too, are not immune to the toxic work culture.


 So, what’s toxic work culture?

Wikipedia defines a toxic workplace as a workplace that is marked by significant drama and infighting, where personal battles often affect productivity.

 While disagreements and intense arguments related to work need not have to be toxic, a calm and polite workplace doesn’t offer a lack of toxicity. In reality, a toxic workplace in most scenarios is passive-aggressive and inconspicuous.

 Now, you might have got an idea about how such a workplace will look like. It will be an office plagued by drama, fighting, and unhappy employees affecting the productivity and the well-being of the people. Often people discount the situation thinking that it’s due to the presence of some ‘bad eggs’ that such bad behaviours in the workplace take place. And, toxic work culture happens due to leadership failure or when leaders fail to communicate effectively about the seriousness of the issue to the team.


How to fix a toxic work culture?

Leaders play a critical role in developing a positive culture at the workplace. Leadership has to set the limitation for unpleasant behaviour. Giving a lengthy speech about unacceptable behaviour is not enough. Instead, leaders should recognize and resolve the problem and fix the culture. 


Here are five ways how employers can fix a toxic workplace 

Top-down approach
Repairing a toxic culture starts from the top. The mistake most leaders often make is taking feedback from employees and doing nothing about it. A culture can transform only when leaders’ take feedback seriously and act impartially. 

 A leader should always stand for openness. Many leaders have the habit of holding onto information, which works against an open culture. They should have an open mind and encourage employees to share their opinion. If there is no transparency and employees don’t feel comfortable speaking openly, a manager should realize that all the bottled up feelings will snowball into creating a toxic culture.

Create a clear vision and communicate it

Toxicity comes from a lack of direction as employees are forced to fill in the blanks. This in turn leads to a lack of solidarity, a lack of priorities, and individual plans. To avoid this, key leaders should sit together and craft a clear and compelling vision and share it over and over again so that employees are reminded to follow it.

Take responsibility and initiate action

Often perpetrators take cues from the leaders and feel that they can get away with their bad behaviour. This occurs when leaders knowingly or unknowingly allow bad behaviour to persist. Treat all employees by the same rules. Playing favourites promote bitterness. Hence, leaders should create an even playing field, and call for all employees to follow the rules to avoid a toxic work culture.

As a leader, you should ensure that you don’t stop with just words but there is action. Implement a robust policy for dealing with different types of behavior in the workplace. Remember, if you don’t act after toxic events, your employees will lose their trust in your ability.

Listen to employees and communicate effectively

Before you start mending a toxic culture, leaders must listen to employees. Be open to feedback and remember that your employees may see issues that you often don’t spot. Communicate organizational policies clearly and publicly. Interact with your employees, persuade them to ask questions and give feedback. Make sure that everyone’s voice is heard. This boosts employee morale, brings back unity and helps improve confidence and the work culture. 

Employees won’t be able to accomplish the jobs without knowing the context. Having complete and clear information helps employees to reduce confusion and frustration. Conduct weekly meetings, send company newsletters and share the information they need to know. Acknowledge work well done.

Allocate realistic targets and appreciate a work well done

For leaders to allocate realistic targets, they should take time to learn what their employees are doing. Unless a leader knows how long one task takes to complete, he or she will not be able to assign tasks and measure performance.

One of the major factors that promote employee happiness is receiving appreciation for the work done by them. Look for ways to show appreciation. Tell your employees what they’re doing well and they’re sure to continue doing it. Create a supportive eco-system by sharing employee successes and make positive encouragement a group activity.


Whizzyle app, a tool to reduce workplace toxicity

Whizzyle is a software application that makes team communication and collaboration easy and purposeful. This revolutionary way of instant messaging gives businesses the best of both worlds- email and chat.

The simple but effective application uses email-like features to organize the conversations. The chat starts with a subject and agenda.

Leaders can assign action items to their team members and ensure that conversation converts into tasks. One can capture notes with all key takeaways so that no points are missed out. With the application, one can share notes with colleagues, visit or access the same from the chat at any time. The platform offers the facility to talk to unlimited participants without them losing their current usage.

Whizzyle solves the challenges faced by business owners and employees by integrating official communication on one single platform in a seamless manner. The application helps perform structured communication within and across an organization helping to achieve the precise expectations from the conversations with accountability. 

Though Whizzyle app does not offer a direct solution to toxicity at the workplace it is one of the best tools to increase accountability in communications which in turn will reduce workplace toxicity.

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