Whether you’re an employee or a manager, learning to identify and address toxic behaviour is vital for maintaining a positive and productive work environment. Unfortunately, every work environment, from large multinational companies to family-owned businesses, can be the epicentre of conflicts and toxic behaviours such as discrimination, bullying, harassment, or unfair treatment.  In this article, you’ll discover how to identify and handle this in the workplace.

Most Common Toxic Behaviors in the Workplace

Toxic behaviour can take many forms, from mere gossip to sexual harassment. In general, any actions or words that negatively impact others by giving rise to frustration, discomfort, sadness, or anger can be considered toxic. The signs can be subtle or overt. The most common toxic behaviours are aggressiveness, intimidation or bullying, discrimination based on gender, sex, or national origin, and narcissism. Unscrupulous business owners can also be guilty such as not offering equal salaries for equal work or permitting offensive language in the office.

How to Address Toxic Behaviors as an Employee

Depending on the type of toxic behaviour you’ve witnessed or experienced, you may need to take different measures. If the toxic behaviour is exhibited by a coworker, discuss it with your supervisor or the HR team. Don’t ignore incidents that make you feel uncomfortable in the workplace. Voice your concerns immediately to avoid similar incidents from occurring. If toxic behaviour is exhibited by a manager, you may need to take more drastic measures, such as hiring an ethics investigation lawyer to represent your interests. A lawyer can help you assess your situation correctly from a legal standpoint so you can protect your rights in the workplace. In some cases, having legal representation is the only way to find justice due to the complexity of the law. 

How to Address Toxic Behaviors as a Manager 

If you occupy a leading position in a company, addressing toxic behaviours is one of your top responsibilities. You cannot maintain high levels of productivity in a workplace marked by drama and conflicts. If employees feel fearful and stressed, they cannot find the motivation and the strength to perform at their best. The most important thing to know is that overlooking toxic behaviours tends to create more problems in the long run. Left unchecked, these behaviours can lead to low morale in the workplace, stress, burnout, and high turnover. Try to handle toxic behaviours as soon as you notice them or as soon as you receive a complaint.  

The most effective way to handle these negative behaviours in the workplace as a manager is to set strict policies and take action immediately when someone violates one of these policies. You can also set up training sessions to help employees develop their communication skills, empathy, and interpersonal skills. Make sure to offer your employees the opportunity to express their worries, concerns, and opinions without fear of repercussions.  

Identifying and addressing toxic behaviours is the only way to maintain a safe and positive work environment. Use the tips above for the best results.