Don’t let profit decline and growth stop from low company morale

If you’re anything like me, when you hear the staff of a store, restaurant, medical office, or any customer-facing employee complain about a colleague there’s a serious hesitation about doing business there more than once.

toxic work environmentThe bad news is that top level leaders are often the last to acknowledge the existence of interpersonal problems in the office. Managers know it. Staff know it. Vendors know it. The longer it continues, the lower morale sinks until your business begins to misfire at critical points

The good news? It’s never too late to start treatment, and the toxic workplace can be cured!

What are the warning signs of a toxic work environment?

  • Lack of cohesion among the leadership. When egos become more important than the company mission, leaders start to badmouth each other, back-stab, create factions, and generally display a me-first attitude. When leaders have no time for the small but important details that create a positive place for productivity, it’s nearly impossible to avoid erosion of the bottom line.
  • Competition is internal. Instead of focusing your creative ambitions on your industry competitors, your office spends a lot of time and energy shooting at each other.
  • Promotions based on popularity. Instead of bringing up the most skilled or experienced people into leadership, the boss eagerly appoints his or her pals into the corner offices. This kills any sort of healthy decision making and cultivates a culture of sycophantism.
  • Turnover shifts into high gear. The hamster wheel of bringing on new staff only to have them flee soon afterward is another sure way to grow a hopeless outlook among employees. This is just another time- and energy-sapping outcome of poor leadership allowing a toxic environment to infect a workplace.
  • Foxhole mentality. When bullies run the office, belittling, ignoring or taking credit for others’ ideas, you’ll soon see people operating in survival mode. New ideas and innovations dry up because everyone knows their ideas don’t matter to the decision makers.

How do you detox the company?

It takes some difficult changes to recover from the kind of work environment described here. Arthritis in your knee can tell you there’s a problem, but it can’t make the decision to see a doctor.

Those at top leadership must embrace new ideas on what effective leaders must do and be in order to create both a positive place to work and a bullish bottom line. There are ways to flag potential leaders who are outliers in measures of narcissism or sociopathy.

Think through the personal review process for everyone from top to bottom. Consider a disinterested third party to get the real story on how things work in your company. Larek Point Consulting can bring valuable insights into solutions for any work environment. 

It can take some painful treatment to cure your company, but — wow — is it worth it!

What makes a healthy environment?

It’s different for every business, but there are some non-negotiables like genuine care about employees, a strongly affirming, humanizing atmosphere, constant self-inspection of policies, written and unwritten, that affect moods and motivations. Seeing your company as a community with a mission can function as a powerful immunity against any toxicity that might try to gain entry.