No one wants to work in a toxic workplace. And as a business leader, your goal is likely to build a workplace where you and your employees enjoy coming to work each day. Research from Harvard Business School found that not only do toxic workplaces make work a less enjoyable place to be, they also decrease employee productivity and performance directly impacting your bottom line. While the leaders in your company can not create a positive work culture on their own, the good news is there are things you can do to prevent a toxic workplace and even turn around a workplace that has become toxic. A recent article from Inc provides five things that leaders can do:
Jump in the trenches
Make sure your leaders get involved in the daily grind once in a while. That is not to say that leaders should spend their time doing the jobs of other employees every day. But, you build trust with your employees when you are willing to get your hands dirty and jump in to help, especially during stressful times.
Freely give recognition
Employees should know how much their hard work is appreciated. Leaders should freely share positive feedback with employees. Thank you notes, small gift/rewards, and even a verbal “thank you” go a long way with employees. Focus on employee’s strengths. Check out our Employee Recognition Toolkit for more ideas.
Be open with constructive criticism
In addition to positive feedback, leaders need to be willing to give constructive feedback as well. As we like to say, when you see something, say something. Don’t wait to address issues with employees. They rarely (read: never) work themselves out. You are doing your company and frankly your employees a disservice by not clearly defining expectations and holding employees accountable.
Be a good example
The leaders in your organization need to set a good example for other employees. If you leadership team isn’t engaged, happy, and motivated, the rest of your employees will not be either. Model the behaviors you hope to see from other employees- from following company policies and procedures to having a positive attitude, to taking accountability for your actions.
Humility should a be a characteristic that your leadership team exhibits. Staying accountable and admitting mistakes when they are made increases the trust with employees. Really get to know your employees. Listen to what motivates them.
Toxic workplaces are both preventable and changeable. Share these expectations with the leaders in your organization to get your company culture back on track and keep it that way.