The Best Survival Guide for A Toxic Workplace

A toxic workplace culture—in any type of organization and industry—can take a toll on your mental health, and in time even your physical health. If you’re enmeshed in a toxic culture you may feel you don’t have many options, but there are ways to survive with your health and outlook intact. Here are some of the best:

Maintain clear boundaries. Be clear about what is acceptable to you and what is not. Your personal barometer of right and wrong will help you survive when others may be engaging in negative or unethical behavior. Learn to say no and mean it.

Build connections with trusted co-workers. One of the most important resources you can have in a toxic workplace is a small group—or even one other person—you can turn to for mutual trust, support, and occasional venting.

Remain positive. You may not be able to change a lot of things at work, but you’re always in control of your own mindset and attitude. Tune out the negativity as much as possible and learn to stay calm and centered when trouble is swirling around you.

Avoid drama. It’s easy to be drawn into workplace drama. But it’s important for your own peace of mind and integrity to avoid getting involved—just excuse yourself from any conversation that starts to go in that direction. In time people will know that you don’t engage.

Give yourself a break. Think of ways to give yourself a break or a reward. It could be engaging in a creative outlet outside work, picking up a new hobby, connecting with friends, working out at the gym or simply taking a walk. Anything that can steer your mind in a better direction for a while will do you good.

Stay focused on the job at hand. Don’t let your workplace environment distract you from focusing on your work. Shut everyone out, put your head down and do your best work instead of participating in the toxic behavior that is going on around you.

Learn to let things go. Being surrounded by negativity on a daily basis can very quickly get you down. That’s why it is so important to let things go as they arise. Detach from bad situations and remain impervious to petty criticisms and barbs that may come your way—remember, they say more about the people originating them than about you. The more you let things affect you, the harder it will be for you to get through the day.

Leave work issues behind when you leave. Don’t carry your workplace mood back home with you. Get your mind off work-related things as soon as you leave, and take advantage of a chance to focus on the people and things that bring you happiness.

When you deal with toxicity in healthy ways, you aren’t just helping yourself—you’re modeling positive behavior to the people around you, and in time the momentum may shift in a better direction. On the other hand, if you try everything you can and nothing is working, the best solution may be to find a new workplace.

Lead From Within: Keep yourself healthy and strong even in a toxic culture. Learn to be good to yourself, even if that means saying goodbye and moving on.



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  1. James

    02. Oct, 2019

    Great article with valid points but surely the best tip to dealing with a toxic work environment is to leave and find a more positive, forward thinking one?

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