This Byte has been authored by

Trishala Pillai,

Max Portianoi and

Alison Costa

One-third of your adult life is spent at work.

Healthy work environments can help you grow and build confidence. However, toxic or unhealthy conditions at work can cause anxiety, sleep or eating disorders, and even depression.

Although it is important to be able to identify all toxic traits, the purpose of this Byte is to give characteristics of 3 red flags to look out for in your work environment.

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1. Poor Leadership

People don't leave jobs, they leave leaders .

A bad leader can create a toxic environment. There's a few common types:

  • A micromanager constantly corrects you, undermines your decisions, and prevents you from doing your job properly.

  • The blame game boss quickly passes off mistakes they make onto anyone else.

  • The no respect boss emails or messages you at all hours, showing disregard for your boundaries.

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Quiz

Which of these is the behaviour of a toxic boss?

2. Limited Growth Opportunities

Growth is essential to a fulfilling career. If you find yourself in a workplace that doesn't allow you to stretch your skills and work towards your goals, it may be toxic.

These conditions are different for each of us - what's good for others might not be good for you and vice-versa.

Consider these scenarios.

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Steven works as a Marketing Specialist for a Marketing Agency X. Steven is a high performer who helps his team hit their targets. Along the way he gets to try new things, talk to exciting clients, and go outside of his comfort zone. The Agency gives Steven the opportunity become a Senior Marketing Specialist in the future.

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Samir also works at Marketing Agency X as a Marketing Specialist. Samir was originally a high performer but has now been in the same role for three years. His responsibilities are the same, he rarely gets to interact with new clients, and whenever he talks to his boss about a promotion, he's told it's "Not the right time."

Quiz

Is Marketing Agency X a toxic work environment?

3. Poor Team Communication

Conflict is unavoidable in the workplace. But effective communication is essential to making sure conflict doesn't become toxic.

Toxicity due to poor communication may take the form of:

  • No common purpose and understanding

  • A culture of fear

  • A lack of trust amongst teammates

  • Feeling unheard or unsupported

Your team's communication may be ineffective if it's:

  • Inconsistent. It doesn't happen regularly, and isn't prioritized when needed.

  • Not purposeful. The goals of meetings or emails are unclear.

  • Full of digital distractions. Team members are multitasking when meeting and not giving each other their full attention.

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Quiz

Which of the following is a sign of ineffective communication?

Take Action

The best sign your workplace is toxic is usually a gut feeling. If your gut is telling you that your workplace is toxic, it probably is.

A toxic workplace will not help you move forward in your career so if all of the signs are pointing towards this, it's likely time to talk to HR or move on!

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