"I once had a boss who decided that, despite very strong performance, they didn’t like someone on our team and wanted to see them gone. They didn’t have the ability to fire them, but looped the employee out of emails and conversations, talked poorly about them behind their back, and disregarded any good performance. Not only is that unethical (and possibly illegal), but it also made actually getting our team’s work done way, way harder."
I read this story on the Muse, and immediately the warning bells in my mind went off because that environment is becoming or has become a toxic place to work. No company wants to learn that their culture is a toxic one, according to the Forbes Coaches Council; unfortunately, it can and does happen: When bad behaviors go unchecked and become the norm, they can start to permeate throughout the dynamics of an organization.
If you’ve noticed your employees starting to lose their motivation or regularly bicker with each other, it could be the early signs of larger problems. In this article, a panel of Forbes Communications Council members was asked to identify some of the major warning signs that a company culture may need help. Here is what they advise you look out for:
Gossip is a warning sign that indicates a culture is toxic. When people speak about those not present in negative or demeaning ways, the drama consumes everyone’s time. My first step to attacking this problem is establishing ground rules. Rule No. 1: Gossip is not allowed. Rule No. 2: “Possip” is allowed—that is, speaking about someone not present in ways that praise and encourage that person, that team, or that group. I find people can very quickly identify the difference between these two behaviors and can start to modify their own conversations, and begin to hold one another accountable for the new ground rules as well. - Jennifer Owen-O’Quill, Voltage Leadership Consulting