When you ask company leadership and employees alike, they would say that the best way to improve productivity is by revamping the work culture. However, given the present conditions both inside and outside the office and the individual situation of each employee, it is hard to deny that company culture is not as strong as it is before. Some would even say it has become toxic to the point that some companies find it hard to maintain a great team constantly.

The trend existing in many work cultures has caused many firms to invest in ways to fix it. But, studies have shown that many are unable to make significant strides in resolving the problem. The reason, studies suggest, is the fact that many leaders are uncertain where they should start fixing their “toxic work culture.” Should they focus on one area of the work or should the change be done with the entirety of the work culture revised.

If you are a manager or a leader who wishes to fix your work’s toxic culture, you can follow these steps as a guide:

Be committed to the change and focus on detoxifying your company

When it comes to detoxifying a company’s work culture, it is not enough to simply introduce new culture or manage the existing one with revised traditions. What is needed for a detoxification is the dedication of the leadership to get results or else their efforts will fail easily.

Cultural change will need a holistic approach and several interventions that must be sustained over time. Only the leadership can guide the entire organization to each step of the change, from sorting out hiring and promotions, creating the budget for coaching and intervention and coordinating with the team to get any changes done. If the leadership is unable to lead the change, the toxicity in their level will trickle to the entire organization and the employees will not follow your orders.

The leadership must take into account and focus on the benefits a cultural detox can do for the company’s agenda. In turn, they must continue to update the team about the progress being made for detoxification and even get the team involved in the efforts.

Finally, the leadership’s commitment to do a cultural detox must also show in their behavior. Employees always look at their leaders to see what they should do to support the efforts for change and what behaviors are expected of them to follow. Many often question leaders for their actions and behaviors as they believe it is not aligned with the official core values of the company. But, if leaders are consistent and follow the core values, it will be a great push to employees to follow their lead.

Distribute leaders to help create healthy microcultures

Work cultures can also be detoxified by distributing leaders who will help by becoming a model for others. This means that leaders should turn to middle managers or team leaders who can create their own microcultures and foster change there.

With middle managers leading their own teams, the employees will have an easier time to reach these managers and get guidance on how they can improve their behaviours to support culture detoxification. The top leadership can help middle managers by giving them incentives to act on behalf of the company, especially when there is misconduct in their ranks. They should also be given the right training to deal with these situations, as well as how to reach out to their peers to reduce the impacts of toxic cultures in the team.

Identify and establish the right social norms

Social norms have the capability to influence behavior, especially in the workplace. Without social norms, there is a high risk of getting injuries and disagreements in the workplace that can shake its foundations. It can also reduce the performance of everyone, including those who are initially good employees but could not flourish because of the toxic environment.

To improve toxic norms, it is important to take note of the fact norms often occur because of group influence. Many people follow social norms because they see others doing it and they do not want to be left out. Any change will need the cooperation of the group and not just a kickstarter by a handful of people.

Leaders should ask the groups themselves to determine their own ideal social norms to remove the toxic culture in their sector. Schedule meetings with group leaders and discuss what improvements can be made that everyone will accept, taking note of suggestions so certain actions can be modified to fit their teams.

It is also best to work with distributed leaders to help introduce social norm changes to the team because they know how the team thinks better than the top leadership. When the distributed leader finishes talking to their team, they can collect key data that will allow the team to determine how toxic their work environment is and tweak any action that will be taken to reduce it.

Change the way the team works to reduce stress

Several studies on toxic cultures point out that poorly designed workplaces can lead to negative setbacks for the entire company. For employees, highly toxic environments can lead to high stress levels, physical illness and even a higher risk of death. If one wishes to reduce the chances of this happening to their team, there must be an avenue for employees to reduce their stress levels while at work.

To achieve this, companies should consider revising their workspaces and enable employees to work in a stress-free environment. One way of doing this is by reducing the workload and setting them into acceptable levels that will help employees manage their work better. They can also revise job descriptions and clearly define the responsibilities and expectations the team has from these employees.

Toxic workplaces have lasting negative effects on any employee, even the leadership. They will exhibit signs of great stress, depression and burnouts, with some even developing serious physical troubles that will haunt them for the rest of their life. If nothing is done to fix it, the organisation will definitely feel its impact not only in its performance, but also in its financial stability. Use the tips above to help your organisation free itself from toxicity and maintain a healthy and happy community for years to come.

Looking for more articles on toxic culture in the workplace and how it affects everyone in the company?
10 Must Have Tips for Dealing with Toxic People at Work
What Is A Toxic Workplace?
How Would A Narcissist Act At Work

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9 replies on “Toxic Culture In Your Office? How To Fix It Quick.

  1. All excellent ideas, but limited in potential because most of the toxicity in work culture is reflective of the mess in the culture outside work. Polarization, government overreach, dishonesty among politicians, general distrust of established “authorities,” and fear of everything from “missing out” to what the future holds, all leap over the walls into our workplaces.
    Interestingly, Jesus was able to recruit fishermen, intelligentsia, political sellouts and political zealots into the mix of His disciples. Hmmm, maybe He understood something about purpose that most businesses fail to see 😉:
    “Whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them.”
    “Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest …”
    “Let the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as one who serves. For who is the greater, one who reclines at table or one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at table? But I am among you as the one who serves.”
    “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”
    ❤️&🙏, c.a.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You have some great points. Something that would be great for companies to do as well is not judge a worker based on hearsay, not judge their mental and emotional status either by hearsay, and also SUPPORT workers on an individual bases when going through individual hardships and behind closed doors as confidential as the “open door policy” should be. Toxicity in the work environment will always exist unfortunately. I have learned that being my genuine sensitive yet professional self has brought me more judgement in the workplace than done me good. For example, I was referred to as “aggressive” in a position when I was standing up for my colleagues and my own mental health pulling my work load and others work load when instead I was being “assertive”. Women tend to get labeled that way in society still to this day unfortunately. With that said companies could also help reduce that type of toxicity which is stop condescending their own dedicated workers. I will say this to all of you, be yourself regardless. Have a great weekend! ❤

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