If going to work every day and being around your coworkers and managers feels more like a burden than a benefit to your career, your workplace might have a toxic culture.
"Company culture is one of the most important drivers of individual and collective success," writes Fortune 500 company leadership advisor Annie McKee in her latest book, "How To Be Happy At Work." "Unfortunately, too many of our organization's cultures do no help us to accomplish our goal, much less be happy."
If you're not sure whether you work in a toxic workplace, here is what one looks like:
- Intense pressure to get short-term results
- Taboos against speaking up to power
- Us-versus-them mentality
- Dysfunctional competition
- Lots of talk about values but not enough action
- Lack of clarity around a vision
- Lack of appreciation
- Incivility and hurtfulness tolerated or even encouraged
- Inequity, absence of meritocracy and injustice
"These conditions result in fear, cynicism, lack of trust, anger and withholding of time, energy and talent, not to mention deep and pervasive unhappiness," McKee writes.
She adds that being a part of such a negative work environment stifles talent, hijacks your success and makes you miserable.
Instead of sitting back and allowing a toxic workplace culture to intrude on your personal happiness and chances at success, McKee suggests creating a "resonant culture."
Here are the traits of a resonant culture, as explained by McKee:
- A sense of unity around a noble purpose
- Overt commitment to virtues and values like honesty, forgiveness, gratitude, wisdom and love
- A clear, inspiring and shared vision of the future
- Generosity of time, talent and resources
- Taboos against hurtful treatment of others, dishonesty and cynicism
- Respect for the individual's right to grow and develop
- Celebration of differences
- Compassion and humane treatment of everyone in good times and bad
- Fairness and justice
Though creating this type of environment in an already toxic workplace will take some effort, McKee notes that "cultivating happiness at work is a deliberate, conscious act."
She adds that if your company doesn't have a resonant culture, you can take ownership to make it one.
"When you take responsibility for the culture that surrounds you and your closest colleagues, your team can become an oasis, even in the most dysfunctional organizations," McKee writes.
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