The general work environment is supposed to be a space of commitment and encouragement. Unless you work as an independent contractor, most roles involve working together with a team in order to accomplish a shared goal. Sometimes, however, this gets lost in translation and a certain negativity pervades the workplace.
Toxic workplace behaviors are prevalent in the corporate world. Colleagues may change and look down on you, while your superiors may openly critique you in public. Some signs of toxic workplace behaviors may be easy to spot, while others are much subtler. Either way, these toxic workplace behaviors can dampen your mood, worsen your psychological outlook, and just make work a whole lot less enjoyable.
Knowing the signs of toxic behaviour in the workplace is the first step in recognizing your value there. Remember, you deserve the utmost in respect in every setting! Here are eight of the most common toxic workplace behaviors to watch out for:
1. Toxic Comments
You may have one co-worker in particular who is known for blatantly saying terrible things. These remarks can either be directed towards you or another one of your colleagues. What’s worse is how toxic workplace behavior is known by management and passed off as normal.
Spoiler alert; it isn’t. If you are working with someone who is known for deliberately making rude comments, this can translate to a hostile and toxic workplace environment. When calling them out for their behavior doesn’t cut it, it may be time to bring it to the attention of a higher supervisor and get a workplace investigation performed.
2. Workplace Exclusion
Every workplace has meetings to see how operations are going. When all is said and done, everyone is sent back to their stations to continue their work. However, some of your cohorts may informally hold another meeting by themselves and purposefully exclude you from the gathering.
What goes on in this meeting can be truly duplicitous. Your colleagues may be openly speaking terrible things about you or your work performance. This doesn’t help anyone, and can foster a poor and toxic work space if it persists.
3. Peer Pressuring
A toxic co-worker is one who encourages you in front of your face, but secretly envies you behind your back. This envy can then translate into a pseudo-kindness, where your colleague may try to subtly dissuade you from accomplishing goals. For example, you may be hitting your quotas, but they respond by saying that your accomplishments are making them look bad.
This is an early sign of toxic behaviour that can worsen if not brought to their attention. Ask your colleague if they need help with some of their own tasks and see if you can uncover the source of their disingenuous demeanor. This may very well end up bolstering your professional relationship in the long run.
4. Arrogant Behavior
When working within a team, you may encounter that one co-worker who, overtime, begins to act as if they are the boss. If this toxic workplace behavior lingers, the relationship between both parties may become truly toxic. You may capitulate to their every demand, even knowing that they are in the wrong.
In this situation, you need to ensure that boundaries remain known between all members of your team. One should not act higher than another, especially if the professional title says otherwise. Everyone should be driven to accomplish something together and not separated by dues that haven’t yet been paid.
5. Workplace Gossiping
Gossiping is one of the most common forms of toxic workplace behaviour in any environment. You don’t even necessarily have to be in the same room to notice that certain colleagues have made you the topic of conversation. A sign that this behaviour has worsened is noticing that some team members won’t even speak to you anymore.
The worst outcome out of gossiping is that, if it festers, other individuals of the team may start to talk to you less. This diminishes your overall respect in the workplace. It is a terrible feeling, knowing that something, true or not, has outright separated you and your peers.
6. Taking All The Credit
If a co-worker is not busy acting higher than what their position describes, they may be trying to grab all the glory. This behaviour comes in the form of an individual taking credit for every accomplished goal, despite it being a team-oriented task. This comes across as inherently pompous, as one person thinks the success of every achievement revolves around them.
If this conduct is not called out, it encourages the individual to continue in their behaviour. A good co-worker would always share the credit within a team-driven task. They celebrate the accomplishments of the team, knowing that success would not be possible without help.
7. Selling Out
Sometimes, we make errors in our work and in our judgment. However, if a co-worker decides to constantly throw you under the bus for every mishap, they are contributing to a toxic work environment. This can even be in regards to the respective co-worker’s own mistakes. Instead of accepting responsibility for their oversights, they project blame onto someone else.
8. High Workplace Turnover
If the company you are working at is known for hiring new employees at every whim, it is reflective of a toxic work environment. Poor morale and dysfunction contribute highly to this behaviour. When this becomes blatantly apparent, people are forced to quit and usually for good enough reason as well.