How to Heal a Toxic Work Environment

We spend nearly 1/3 of our lives at work. That’s an enormous amount of time and if the work environment is hostile it can be a nightmare. In the case of my client, he received a promotion within the company that created stress and disention among him and his workers. Fearing a blow-up at work, he was in need of an urgent solution. However, he was reluctant to accept my suggestions. Referring to his workers as “low life’s”, the first recommendation I made to him was an adjustment in his attitude and perception. This is the single most critical factor in changing any negative situation. Here are my recommendations for improving any toxic or stressful relationship:

1. Discuss the situation with your co workers. Ask them how they feel about the current circumstances. Validate their feelings with sincerity, not with a pre rehearsed response.

2. Explain your feelings as well. A transition such as this can be equally as uncomfortable and challenging for the one promoted. Letting them know you are struggling creates a commonality, thereby bonding both sides.

3. Express your concern for their well-being using such statements as “I really want you to feel comfortable working here.”

4. Ask how you can make things better for them. Be willing to listen to what they need and do your best to supply that.

5. Convey to them what you need from them that will better help you make the necessary changes. Make sure all requests on both sides are fair and reasonable.

6. Reassure them that you will give this a 100% effort. Thank them for their cooperation and suggestions.

It is vitally important to remember that a manager’s job is to bring out the best in his workers. In order to do that, he/she must put aside their ego (a “me” mentality) and work from a place of spirit (a “we” mindset).

Listen objectively. Show concern. Seek solutions. Plain and simple. It works with families, too.

Janet Pfeiffer, The Secret Side of Anger, The Great Truth

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