Are you working in a toxic environment with your co-workers and/or manager? Do you have a manager who has no idea that your office is a toxic place for employees? Today we will start a two-part series on characteristics that are symptomatic of a toxic working environment. If this is the case, then it’s likely the relationships you’ve formed at work are toxic too.

Take a brief look at these points from an emotional intelligence viewpoint and decide for yourself whether it’s time to move on.

1. There’s no loyalty between the staff and the manager

Loyalty in the workplace is generated via three main habits:

  • – Managers trust their staff with projects, tasks & money
  • – Managers support their team members and help them wherever they can
  • – Managers themselves are honest, trustworthy and reliable

If this is not the case, a toxic work relationship will begin to develop very quickly. Workers who cannot feel loyalty towards their superiors are often disgruntled and discontent with their jobs. Without loyalty, there can be no real relationship between employee and manager, which is why the three points above should be worked towards as often as possible.

This question of trust comes down to emotional intelligence on the part of the manager. Managers with high EQs are often excellent leaders. They aren’t hesitant to trust their staff with the tasks they assign them with. If the same staff member is struggling with that task, they will step in as a team leader rather than an authoritative boss with unreasonable demands. Finally, the manager will set a healthy example of trustworthiness to his staff to encourage a culture of trust among them.

2. Work takes priority over personal lives

Any good manager knows that an employee’s personal life must take priority over their work life. Work simply is not the be-all and end-all of a someone’s week, month or year. If it is, then a toxic relationship will begin to form between the staff and the people who manage them.

Workers automatically resent it when they are forced to sacrifice personal elements of their lives for the sake of the company they work for. This may include anything; from not being able to spend time with their families, to being forced to work despite a medical condition. It’s important to remember that a company is remunerating their staff for their time, but this should not be to the detriment of their families of their health.

Managers, team leaders and business owners who are emotionally intelligent, will naturally see the merit in someone else’s personal life. That’s because they themselves live their lives in a way that prioritises their families and their own personal wellbeing.

3. There’s a general lack of growth potential

Are the staff at your workplace prone to remaining stagnant in their positions? A by-product of mistrust in a work relationship is that staff members will not be allowed to grow within the company. Managers who lack emotional intelligence would rather look at their staff from a short-term perspective rather than a long-term one.

Instead of being respected as valued assets that the company should invest in, they are seen as workers who should put their heads down and do their work until they can’t stand it anymore and simply leave. This is a toxic approach to management.

When people feel undervalued, they will start to hate their jobs and are likely to leave the company eventually. High staff turnaround is not good business. The correct approach is to invest in the right staff and grow them within the company. This garners loyalty, job satisfaction and saves the company money.

4. Stress-related sicknesses run rife

Stress is a big killer in the corporate world. The pursuit of money can have dire consequences if it isn’t done within reason. Unfortunately, many managers squeeze as much as they can out of their staff. This is often to their own detriment because they end up paying for time off (sick leave), lower production due to illness, and lower morale because of stress related ailments.

Managers who place unnecessary stress on their workers will suffer the consequences. Good leaders know that it’s their responsibility to support and assist their employees in all situations. It’s beneficial to create an environment of support rather than one of demands.

Delegating a task does not mean that it is out of a manager’s lap. Every task that is distributed among staff members is still the responsibility of the manger. If staff members feel as if they can count on the support of management, a toxic work relationship will be avoided. Highly emotionally intelligent leaders are not commanders, they are teachers when it comes to handing out responsibilities. Failure to lead properly could result in high stress levels and subsequent illness of staff—not to mention management as well.

5. Workers are becoming generally unhappy at home and at work

The happiness of others can be a low priority for a manager with low emotional intelligence. For some it’s all about the bottom line and looking good in front of clients and/or higher management. This may seem beneficial to the said manager at the time, but ultimately it will affect him or her negatively.

Good leaders put great importance in their workers’ career satisfaction. If an employee doesn’t believe in what he or she is doing, the detriment will ultimately fall to the manager and the company as a whole.

When you talk to the people you work with, are they content in their jobs; or are they inclined to complain and grumble a lot? If a manager has taken the time to find out whether his or her employees are happy, that’s a good start. If they’re not, it’s important to establish why, and then do something about it fast, before toxicity has a chance to creep in.

If you see this kind of culture developing at your job, it may be time to change jobs. Taking your personal licensing or door supervisor training to the next level may be the answer to finding a job where workers are respected and valued. Next time we’ll look at four other symptoms of toxicity in the workplace. Don’t miss out.

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10 Signs you're in a Toxic Work Environment – Part 1
10 Signs you're in a Toxic Work Environment – Part 1
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