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How to Deal with a Toxic Work Environment

By Nsi Amah

Toxic work environments can make or break an employee’s mental health and overall experience. In many situations, managers or directors don’t know that their behaviors towards the employees are toxic unless it has been addressed with them. The environment of the company sets the tone for the employees and supervisors. Managers need to know this. Yes, your employees have to listen to you because they have to run a business as smoothly as possible. You can’t run a company by yourself of course. However, this can go very smooth or very bad for the company. It is all about how your employees are treated. So if you are working in a toxic work environment and haven’t found another job to quit just yet, there are several ways to go about it.

Try talking to your manager about it first, privately. Express that you have been very respectful and that you do your job diligently. Express that you don’t get the same level of respect and how it makes you feel. You may have to have this conversation more than once which is typical, but at least your boss can’t say you didn’t speak on it first. After your conversation, give it some time for things to settle down to see if your boss’s mannerisms and pressure towards you changes. If the environment doesn’t change, now it’s time to get everything in writing.

Create yourself a paper trail and start documenting every incident you encounter with your boss. You need to write down in detail what’s said, the behavior, and the date of every incident that is inappropriate. This is extremely important if you are dealing with a sexual harassment case. You need to have a record of events before you try to call Human resources or take legal action against the company. Once you have all your tools and documents ready to go, that’s when you contact Human Resources.

Once you have contacted HR, tell them every detail about your case and how you are being treated. Make your case very clear that you have done all you can do to cope with your bully. At this point, this issue will be out of your hands. Explain that the behavior of your boss has made a negative impact on your work performance and the performance of your team. Make sure that this complaint is formal and professional as possible. HR should take it from there with an investigation. 

You should plan to take some time off before your boss realizes that he or she is being investigated. You don’t need anymore confrontation or harassment in this situation. You need a mental break and some time for yourself. Use this time to utilize the connections you have and other job options. This is the time you should use to apply for other work and possibly preparing a letter of resignation. How you use your vacation time is completely up to you. It is best to mentally prepare yourself to quit especially if you need to resign sooner than you planned.

Depending on how HR handles things, it is up to you if you think it is within your best interest to put in your two weeks notice.

Remember, no job is worth your mental health, especially when you have been disrespected or put under unreasonable pressure. You have to do what is best for you. Many tend to stick to unhealthy work spaces for financial reasons, but you get to a point when enough is enough.  Toxic work spaces do have a huge effect on your mental health and some employees get PTSD from the mental abuse. So do what is best for you. Remember there will always be another job for you.

Photo Credit: rawpixel for Pexels

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