Are you in a job that you love, but find you’re surrounded by toxic interactions?
Perhaps this feeling is a familiar one to you…?
You wake up every morning with a knot in the pit of your stomach, just dreading to go to work.
Maybe you’ve just come back from a vacation and you’re already counting the days until your next day off.
These types of toxic workplace cultures tend to form when people aren’t addressing issues that need to be addressed. Communication has broken down and people aren’t talking about the big things that matter. People end up miserable and communication becomes very negative.
Common thinking is that if you are in a toxic job, you should leave. There’s simply no other solution.
But I wanted to share a little secret with you. It might sound rather harsh… but you’re actually part of the problem.
Hang on… keep reading. I don’t mean that it’s all your fault.
But you are part of the dynamic.
You see, interactions always go two ways. So although you may think that leaving your job will solve your problem, I’m going to suggest that you might just find yourself in a similar situation again in future, unless you change your own interaction patterns.
I say this because I’ve been the person who was miserable in my job and the toxic interactions and thought that the toxic work culture was solely to blame.
Your desire to get away from toxic interactions is completely reasonable.
However, I’m going to suggest to you that your first step shouldn’t be leaving your job, but rather working to redefine how you engage in interactions with the other employees and leaders within the organization.
You can do this in three ways:
1. Begin to incorporate mindfulness.
A regular mindfulness practice will help you to create more space between whatever is happening and your reaction to it. This will give you the ability to reflect on how you’re going to interact differently. My keynote and workshop, Shrink the Reactive Zone, Master Stress-Free Communication at Work talks about this exact subject.
2. Voice your concerns.
Start to voice whatever is going on. Talk about the issues that are causing you to feel so frustrated, unheard, and upset at work. Talk about them with the people involved, not behind people’s backs at the coffee machine. If every time you are feeling resentment in the workplace, you respectfully put words to it, it will open up a dialogue that will not occur if you simply avoid the issue.
This will be more effective if it’s done calmly. Otherwise, putting words to your frustrations won’t work. No one will listen to you if you are simply raging about your frustrations.
For more information, why not get a copy of my free eGuide, 10 Tips to Navigating Difficult Conversations at Work.
3. Seek professional help.
If none of the above has helped the situation, then maybe it’s time to seek professional guidance. Many employers have an employee assistance program where you can get support from somebody specialized in this area to help you navigate these interactions differently at work.
If you’ve done all of the above and nothing has changed, well then maybe it now truly is the time to start looking for a new job, with your new interaction skills intact. Just remember that if you want dynamics within the workplace to change, then you also need to be a part of that change.
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