Toxic office environments are more common than you think. From bad managers, constant gossips to petty competitors and career saboteurs, toxic office environments can host a whole lot of nastiness. Here are ways to survive a toxic office environment if you find yourself in one.

Don’t let the manager send you home in tears

Some managers aren’t fit for managing people and take on a tyrannical role, and as a result create a toxic office environment. If you happen to find yourself with a bad manager, seek support from the company, without badmouthing them. Speak to HR, tell them you’re doing your job correctly but your manager is not always happy and ask them if they can give you any tips to ease your relationship. This person may have had similar complains in the past, in which case HR will be sympathetic.

If no help is available and this person continues to exert their power in an overbearing way, consider leaving the job, bad managers are often what makes employees quit. It is better to leave than to work in a toxic environment.

toxic office environment

Stay professional and polite ALWAYS

Don’t be tempted to get close to overfriendly colleagues, especially if you are just new to the job. Too over-friendly colleagues can easily switch and turn on you, if at some point they decide you are not their cup of tea anymore. To avoid finding yourself in a scenario like this, always be polite and professional, in other words set the tone right away and let them know that you came to work!

They will soon pass you off as “too serious” but it is better to be in their serious list than to become part of an office drama that could get you sacked.

Stay ahead of the petty competitors and potential career saboteurs

In toxic office environments you can sometimes get people who take credit for your work, at every opportunity they can get. Make it difficult for them. Stay ahead of the petty competitors and those who may sabotage your efforts by asking your manager to clearly define your tasks and duties when working within a team. Make sure the manager is aware that you fulfilled your tasks, achieved the set targets etc.

If you really feel that you have someone who is painting you as the weaker member of the team, even though you are putting in as much effort as the rest of the team, if not more, send the manager quick polite messages telling them you completed your part of the work and are available to help out anyone else if needed. This will place you highly with the manager and safe you from damage to your career from your competitor.

Dealing with dishonest colleagues and managers

It may be the case that you detected a lot of dishonesty and dishonest sales tactics. This often occurs in highly competitive sales-driven environments where achieving targets is part of the job. If you find yourself lying to customers or clients to achieve targets, you’re working in a toxic environment.

Reconsider your career path and use your transferable skills to enter another industry, or if a more honest company exists see if they have a role for you there.

2 Replies to “Surviving a Toxic Office Environment”

  1. Nice article!

    Yes sometimes the best decision is to leave such an environment. But, often you need an alternative, which might take time. And what if you are a parent, or your bank account is close to zero? Trying to evolve as an employee and as a person gives you the advantage of choice. Being wise, to having kept savings can help in moments of job crisis.

    The work environment should be seriously taken into account, and can be more important than how many 10K you are offered.

    In a toxic environment, if you are not careful you may harm yourself and your career, especially if you won’t survive the first critical months. But a comment I would like to make, is that despite the games and the competition, most people know who you are. Being a great, helpful and productive employee offers a lot.

    People and the company will treat you unfairly, however deeply they all know “who is who”. Even if they did not know, you know who you are , and who you are matters most!

    I like your articles. Is there any way that I can subscribe an receive notification for next articles?

    1. Thank you, Dimitris. It’s good to gain your perspective – certainly not everyone is in the same shoes. Circumstances differ; you just got to know what’s right for you.

      We will soon add a subscription feature, but for now your email is added to our regulars, so you will receive our next article by email.

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