Removing any toxicity from your workplace is an important part of creating a comfortable environment, where productivity and morale are prioritized.
But many managers may not realize their office is a toxic environment before it's too late and employees have become disengaged with the company. So how do you prevent your workplace from becoming toxic in the first place?
Be clear on bullying and discrimination
One person's 'banter' could very well be interpreted as bullying or discrimination by others. It's important that everyone understands what is acceptable and what isn't, especially if you pride yourself on being a diverse workplace. This doesn't mean that you need to have a sterile working environment, but it's essential that sexist, racist, homophobic and any other aggressive behavior is condemned.
Don't be inconsistent
It's important that you are consistent with your management approach and internal policies. You need to ensure every employee is given the same level of support and encouragement, even if they don't appear to be particularly engaged in professional development. Of course, you don't want to stifle your top performers, but helping them through their progression shouldn't come at the expense of any other employees.
Prioritize communication and transparency
A key sign of a toxic working environment is one where there are multiple communication problems. This can be from managers to employees, from the decision makers to the rest of the company or between departments, but it's all damaging. You need to ensure you're doing everything possible to be clear and transparent about any changes or significant developments in the business.
Have the difficult conversations
If you know certain employees have issues with certain areas, such as development, pay or other departments, then you need to address these head on. This doesn't mean you need to yield to their demands, but it does encourage an open and honest conversation about the structure of the company. It also prevents people from seething and spreading discontentment within the workforce.
Anyone who has ever had a manager that is constantly breathing down their neck knows how demoralizing it can be. So take note and give people the autonomy they need to be the best professional they can. Micromanaging can kill any passion or ambition employees have so empower your team to make their own decisions and take responsibility for the outcome.
Don't forget the importance of social
Your employees are regular human beings. It may seem obvious but it's all too easy to forget that employees are more than their workload. Show your team that you value them by creating places in the office where they can get away from their work for breaks. You should also arrange regular social activities to help maintain internal relations.
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