Rocky Romanella – CEO, 3Sixty Management Services.
You’ve probably heard of a toxic working environment. A term used to describe a workplace where, simply put, people dislike work because of the excruciating daily actions of superiors or colleagues. A toxic work environment can be caused by systemic and structural problems, such as poor leadership or a corrupt culture. Toxicity can affect productivity and leave employees fearful of coming to work and desperate for other opportunities.
But what you may not have heard of is what I call a “micro-toxic environment.” That’s a term I use to describe a workplace where people are exposed to small daily micro-aggressions and problems that affect their happiness and productivity. In other words, an environment that is not toxic enough to leave, but is poisonous enough to affect performance and ultimately retention.
Microtoxic environments arise when leaders and people within the organization do something seemingly harmless; however, it affects the mental health and productivity of the people on the receiving end.
If you are the leader of an organization, it is important to recognize and stop the behavior that causes a microtoxic workplace.
Here are some of the behaviors that create a microtoxic environment:
Emails are sent outside office hours
There are usually two main reasons why people do this. It’s either because they need something their sign or they want to prove to everyone that they are committed and always on the job. Neither is an excuse to do this. Because while the person sending the email doesn’t necessarily intend for the person on the receiving end to reply until work hours, this email still has the potential to cause stress and unwanted anxiety to the employee on the receiving end. , who may think they should address this immediately or spend personal time mulling over the email.
A simple and effective way to stop this behavior is to “schedule emails” arriving in someone’s inbox during working hours. It’s a feature that everyone can access.
Personal time is not valued
Although employers say they value your time, their actions often say otherwise. If meetings are consistently scheduled outside office hours or if meetings are added to your calendar one day, they show a lack of understanding.
Most people have their days planned when they wake up in the morning – a last-minute meeting or one added after office hours can derail their day both personally and professionally and leave them feeling out of control. scheme.
A boss who turns their problems into your problems
All employees have personal lives and personal problems. Often, however, the manager in the office feels that they can pass their problems on to their team members. This can make the office a stressful place as the employee is not only responsible for his job but also becomes responsible for the emotions and consequences of the boss’s problems.
Rule of thumb as a leader: When your problem becomes your people’s problems, they just go away. They have enough themselves.
Creating in chaos
Does this scenario sound familiar to you?
The whole team has a plan and is moving forward. A superior comes in and completely changes course — usually because of something they’ve seen, read, or heard. The team then has to direct their attention and energy completely in the new direction, whether or not they agree, while probably scrapping the work they’ve already completed.
I call this ‘creating in chaos’. The problem with this is that it affects timelines and often results in longer hours for the team executing the plan. This makes for a very unpredictable and unpleasant work environment. Employees are never able to properly balance work/life because they are always willing to be pulled into a new project.
You are micromanaged
Simply put, micromanaging can damage employee confidence. A micromanager’s actions tell you, “I don’t trust you.” When an employee feels incapable, there is no incentive to work hard. Or worse, they know that whatever they do, the work will be changed or micro-managed, so there’s no incentive to be creative or solve problems on your own. They have a “Just tell me what you want” mentality.
Without micromanagement, a staff is able to make decisions, solve problems and take risks. True empowerment happens when people discipline themselves.
Bad behavior is tacitly sanctioned
When a supervisor doesn’t resolve a problem that has already been brought to their attention several times, they seem to be tacitly sanctioning bad behavior. A leader has a responsibility to address problems when they see or hear about them.
In the right working environment, you should feel like a valuable employee. You need to know that your work and the work of your team matters. You should feel that your personal time is valued. You know you can talk to your manager and that work-life balance is effortless.
As a leader, it is your responsibility to end behaviors that create a microtoxic environment. By doing so, you create an uncompromising culture of integrity, honesty, respect and service. And you keep top talent because it becomes a place for people want to work.