Don’t Let Toxicity Infect the Company Culture

by Jody Ordioni

A company’s culture drives the thought and behavior of the employees. It divides the moral spectrum within the company’s environment. It is the shield that dictates how the employees act, think and speak to their colleagues. As our organizations are the tribe within which we function, it becomes important to follow the norms set by them. This integrative step that creates a familial feeling is imperative to demarcate the right from the wrong. Though it might feel oppressive, it is not necessarily bad. As long as there is no toxicity in the system, a company culture only adds to the employee experience.

Power of Toxicity

Your company culture is unhealthy if you find the following patterns emerging in the workspace:

Homogeneous but Forced

The pressure to cover one’s unique trait leads to a drastically toxic culture. A significant number of people are maligned with this urge to cover up their uniqueness for the fear of being ridiculed. This effort to keep up facades often leads to negative effects which can be harmful to the growth of the employees, since they feel they cannot bring their full selves to work. Moreover, it is also possible that the toxicity of the system forces people to downplay their values. This makes the individual suffer.

Extreme Competitiveness

The feeling of lagging behind creates the need to constantly proves one’s worth. The drive to win, added to the priority work takes in life, leads to a culture wherein bullies become socially accepted, sometimes even applauded. Illness and burnout due to the demanding work, take a toll on the employee. The tiredness devolves into fatigue, which compromises with decision-making, ultimately leading to a downfall in the work of the best. Fighting for survival implies that the employees always have to watch their back and such an environment is not safe for anyone to work in.

The Pressure to Work More

A culture of overworking takes place in a company that encourages the employees to not create a work-life balance. Even if companies take care to not over-exert the employees, there is a tendency to bite more than one can chew, at the employees’ end. One work email over the weekend dissolves into the whole time being dedicated to beating deadlines. It becomes more serious if this kind of behavior is expected at work. It leads to anger, frustration, and extreme unhappiness in the life of the employee.

Cultures that force employees to compromise their ethics are not good for them; they are not good for even the company in the long run. However, it is impossible to change your company’s culture overnight. What can be done is, to bring incremental change to the microculture working within the office.

Take Care of the Self

It is easy to lose yourself in the negativity surrounding you. In order to bring substantial change, you need to find out the key to your happiness and productivity. Reflections of this kind, done individually or in groups, usher in positive change in the environment of the office.

Strengthen Work Relations

Instead of talking behind your colleagues back, take the time to get to know them. Try to fix relationships that leave a bitter taste or are emotionally vexing. We tend to imbibe a lot of negativity that surrounds us. This often finds an outlet in our treatment of our peers. If you wish to improve the company culture, then you need to take control of this aspect, before it takes a turn for the worse. Honesty is the key to a productive relationship.

Collective Effort

Once the foundation has been laid, it is time to construct the culture that your employees most need. Build a culture that respects shared values, to articulate a code of conduct. Talk to others in the company and your boss, so that there is a chance to build a culture that everyone feels comfortable in.

The Bottom Line

The microculture you build has to be constructed patiently and with care. It is easy to blame the company culture for your erratic behavior. However, you can detach your culture from toxicity, it should not define your company. Utilize your emotional skills to build your dream culture and act in ways that make you proud to be a part of it.

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