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Dealing with Toxic Workplaces

If you are familiar with the current happenings in Nigeria, you must have have heard about the death of the popular artist/Singer Mohbad. It was said that his struggles began with the record label he was signed to. Rumors have it that he called out for help during his time with the record but no one took it seriously, at the end of the day despite being unsure of the complete truth yet, it is possible to say that the deceased may have found his workplace toxic.


Just like this young man, many people are currently in toxic workplaces, some of whom aren't even aware that it is a problem. In this article, we will be showing you 3 things:

  1. Red flags to know when a workplace is toxic

  2. How a toxic workplace affects your mental health

  3. What to do when you find yourself in a toxic workplace

Red flags that show a workplace is toxic

Credit: Getty Images

1. Poor Leadership and Management:

  • Micromanagement: Managers who excessively control and monitor employees.

  • Favoritism: Giving preferential treatment to certain employees.

  • Lack of Support: Managers who don't provide guidance, feedback, or resources

2. Lack of Clear Communication:

  • Unclear expectations, vague instructions, or frequent miscommunication can lead to frustration and conflict.

3. Excessive Workload:

  • Unmanageable workloads, long hours, and unrealistic expectations can lead to burnout.

4. Bullying and Harassment:

  • Verbal, physical, or emotional abuse from colleagues or superiors.

5. Minimal Work-Life Balance:

  • The expectation to be constantly available or work during off-hours.

6. Unaddressed Concerns:

  • When employees' complaints and concerns are dismissed or ignored by management.

7. Fear of Retaliation:

  • Employees are afraid to speak up or report issues due to potential retaliation.

8. Physical and Emotional Health Problems:

  • Employees experiencing stress, anxiety, depression, or physical health issues due to workplace conditions.

9. Inadequate Resources:

  • A lack of necessary tools, equipment, or support to perform job duties effectively.

10. Financial Instability:

  • Frequent layoffs, delayed paychecks, or financial instability within the company.

Any of these are telltale signs that something is wrong. As much as possible, if you notice these, it is better to start making plans to find something better.

How a toxic workplace affects your mental health

  • Increased Stress and Anxiety: Toxic work environments are often characterized by high levels of stress due to factors like excessive workload, unrealistic expectations, or constant conflict. This chronic stress can lead to heightened anxiety and can contribute to the development of anxiety disorders.

  • Lower Self-Esteem: Experiencing mistreatment, harassment, or bullying in the workplace can erode an individual's self-esteem and self-worth. This can have lasting effects on one's confidence and overall mental health.

  • Decreased Motivation and Engagement: A toxic work environment can lead to decreased motivation and disengagement from one's job. When employees feel undervalued or unsupported, they may lose interest in their work, which can negatively impact their mental health.

Credit: Getty Images

  • Physical Health Problems: The chronic stress associated with a toxic workplace can also manifest as physical health problems, including headaches, gastrointestinal issues, and a weakened immune system. These physical health problems can, in turn, impact mental well-being.

  • Sleep Disturbances: Constant worry and stress from a toxic work environment can disrupt sleep patterns, leading to insomnia or poor-quality sleep. Sleep disturbances can further exacerbate mental health issues.

  • Substance Abuse: Some individuals may turn to alcohol or drugs as a way to cope with the stress and emotional turmoil caused by a toxic workplace, leading to substance abuse problems.

  • Impaired Decision-Making and Cognitive Function: High levels of stress can impair an individual's ability to make decisions, concentrate, and think clearly. This can affect job performance and overall mental well-being.

It's important to recognize the signs of a toxic workplace and take steps to protect your mental health. This may involve seeking support from a therapist or counselor, discussing concerns with HR or management, setting boundaries, and, if necessary, exploring opportunities for a healthier work environment.

What to do when you find yourself in a toxic workplace

When you find yourself in a toxic workplace, there are several steps to take to address the situation and protect your well-being. Recognize the signs of toxicity and document any problematic behavior. Seek emotional support from trusted friends and consider professional help if needed.

Engage with HR, follow company policies, and explore mediation or external resources if internal avenues don't resolve the issues. Consult with an employment attorney if you believe you've faced illegal behavior. No matter what, do not be silent. Always speak up and to the right people/authorities in charge.

Begin to plan your exit, assess your career goals, network, and update your resume for potential job changes. Prioritize self-care and, if necessary, plan an exit strategy from the toxic workplace, keeping your well-being as the top priority throughout the process. Prioritizing self-care, maintaining a support network outside of work, and practicing stress-management techniques can also help mitigate the negative effects of a toxic workplace on mental health. In Conclusion, If you are struggling in a toxic workplace, please know that you are not alone. Our licensed therapists can provide you with support and guidance as you navigate this difficult situation. You can book an appointment via our website.

We care about your mental health and well-being.

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