How To Survive A Toxic Work Environment In 2018…And Come Out Winning!
As businesses resume in earnest today, the first major working week after the holidays, there will be a fair number of miserable people.
They will be miserable not just because the holidays are over and they’ve got to resume at work, but because they’ve got to deal with a toxic work environment. From their 'eye-service' colleagues to unappreciative bosses, they will be upset about everything and everyone. But that’s no way to start a new year, and being miserable solves nothing.
Chances are anyone who’s worked in paid employment long enough has encountered a toxic work environment which, very simply, can be defined as a workplace that is marked by significant drama and infighting, where personal battles often harm productivity.
So, how does one survive let alone thrive in such an environment?
According to Human Resources expert and Talent, Learning and Leadership Manager Henkel Nigeria, Chinuru Alex-Efeyini, the first step would be to have a conversation with your line manager, and if your line manager is the cause of the headache, then take it a notch higher by conversing with your line manager's boss.
"Speak with your HR manager to see if there's a different place where your talent can be better exploited" Alex-Efeyini shared in a chat with Bounce News.
However, if a conversation with one's line manager/HR officer is not feasible, or yields no result, then it's advisable to brace up, develop a thick skin and try to work in peace with everyone. But Alex-Efeyini warns against letting any drama affect your delivery.
"No matter what, your issues at work must never affect your delivery because it can ultimately count against you. Subordinates don't typically last in a confrontation, so find a way to make it work with your line manager because you'll always need him/her and HR in your corner".
Asides these, here are 6 useful tips that can help one deal with a toxic work environment.
1. Act like an employee, think like an employer
Employers simply want results with very little questions asked. That is to say, they value a worker who gets the job done before even being told to do it. So in every situation, try to ask yourself 'what would I do if I owned this business?' This would require you reviewing things dispassionately and objectively. It will also help you take things less personally which is a trap many employees fall into. No one owes you any favours in the work place, so brace up and get the job done.
2. Be value-driven
When you genuinely add value to an organisation, you've already won half the battle because it's tough to compete with someone who gets the job done. So, no matter the distractions, focus on getting your job without any faults. This way, you have a leverage to bargain on if things ever come down to that.
3. Document EVERYTHING
Given that there will be people looking to discredit you, it's absolutely important that you document everything. From meetings to casual conversations which led to the birth of an idea, document it all in emails.
4. Acquire a new skill/certification
You'd be amazed at what learning something new can do for your psyche. Not only can it be a great confidence booster, it will also help you get the job better, thus placing you at an advantage. Also, if you're in a field that's big on certification, then you know this is one of the best ways to secure a promotion, and better pay.
5. Have a solid support system
It's important you have at least one trusted ally at work with whom you can always talk things over, after-all, no man is an island. But your true support system should be outside the workplace entirely. With this support system, you can completely unburden yourself when things get too rough.
6. Stay positive
It can be hard to stay positive in a toxic environment but it's really the only way to keep from falling apart. Avoid office gossip which can trigger off negative thougts and also have an exit plan. An exit plan will keep you focused, as you work towards leaving. Also surround yourself with things that make you happy, whether it's music or a wallpaper of a loved one, or a place you plan to visit.