Why should people criticize you at work

4 signs that you may recognize a toxic work environment

Your biggest problem at work isn't the tasks that pile up on your desk. But on the contrary. This is the easiest part of your job. Your work is like running the gauntlet and you feel more than just drained? Watch out! It is quite possible that you are surrounded by a toxic work environment. Such an environment spreads its poison slowly and not only affects the performance of the employees, but also has an impact on the entire corporate culture. Research assumes that the majority of all mental illnesses in the workplace can be traced back to the behavior of unpopular contemporaries. This has been studied for years as a “toxic workplace” or “psychopathy in the workplace”.

How to recognize a toxic work environment:

1. Communication and transparency? Nothing.

The first sign of a toxic work environment: lack of or lack of communication. Do you feel like you are being left out in relation to important information in your company? Or even worse: When communication is done, is it only in an unprofessional, disrespectful way? Where there is a lack of respect, conflicts become more and more apparent. It starts with insulting, condescending words and ends with screaming and cursing. In short: poison for the working atmosphere. The good old gossip also makes the air stuffy. Employees who constantly speak negatively to one another or who strongly criticize the skills of others contribute significantly to a toxic environment without trust. One thing is certain: If there is a lack of communication and transparency in an organization, it is almost impossible for a mutual respectful, trusting relationship to flourish. Failure is bound to happen.

2. Psychopaths are in charge.

The fact that the proportion of psychopaths on management levels has been shown to be particularly high, of course, does not make this scenario any better. About four percent of CEOs are likely psychopaths, according to one study. The background rate in the normal population is about one percent.[1] The Hare Psychopathy Checklist includes 20 character traits that assess a person's psychopathic or antisocial tendencies. According to this, psychopaths are extremely cold-hearted and masters of manipulation. Whether pathological liar or control freak: psychopaths only act in their own interest. Regulate? They don't know anything like that. Fault? They never have. 3,2,1 ... ticking time bomb in the executive chair!

From slippery charm to a grossly exaggerated feeling of grandiosity: this is how you can tell that your boss is a psychopath. Does it sound familiar to you?

3. Your colleague, the bully?

Bullying in the workplace: Once an alleged scapegoat has been identified, it is difficult for the person concerned to get rid of this stigmatization. Suddenly this person is always the reason for everything that goes wrong. She is systematically marginalized and intimidated. Bad gossip and rumors are of course included. The numbers are alarming: 66.8 percent of people state that they have already been the victim of bullying in their professional environment.

"It is enough if a single employee is socially incompatible." (Stephan Siegfried)

Yes, you read that right: Even a single mean employee can mess up the whole office atmosphere. According to a study by the Warrington College of Business Administration, employees who suffer from the unfriendly behavior of their colleagues often behave more rude themselves when they meet people afterwards. In summary: In companies with only one toxic employee, meanness and disrespect are very likely to make the rounds. [2]If you feel caught something now, here is our self-test.

4. The place makes you sick, literally.

Nothing works anymore: The pressure at work is too great, the mood in the office is almost zero and you suffer from anxiety. Stop! Because a toxic work environment can have a huge impact on your health. Keywords: burn-out and depression. The increased stress at work has been shown to be harmful to your body and leads to digestive problems, immune deficiencies and an increased risk of heart attack or stroke. In the long term, chronic stress can also destroy your general well-being. When displeasure with your workplace turns into real fear, then all alarm bells should ring for you.

Toxic working environment, goodbye!

The best thing, of course, is to make sure you don't start in such a toxic environment. Pay attention to warning signals in advance - such as reports from employees about a particular company on kununu. Comments made allow conclusions to be drawn about toxic behavior patterns in organizations and their areas. These pointers will help you avoid finding yourself in a toxic work environment later. If words like illness, fear and control add up, these are already indications of a working atmosphere that you can do without in the long term.

Here are statistics from the kununu database: A toxic work environment - you can tell by these words!


* based on 2 million anonymous employer reviews on kununu up to March 7, 2018
*The numbers indicate the frequency with which a word appears in the kununu database.

It is noticeable that there is often talk of fear and control. Of course, the context of the reviews must always be considered. Nonetheless, a toxic work environment can be guessed at from certain formulations. Typical examples of this are: "lack of social skills", "non-existent or lack of communication" or statements such as: "who is the next to be kicked out?"

Help, I work in a toxic work environment! If you have already been infected with a toxic work environment, then you only have one option: You immediately leave the building and quit, with no ifs or buts. Time to jump into a more relaxed working life!



[1] hare.org
[2] news.ufl.edu