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Dealing with toxic work environments
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Dealing with toxic workplace environments

When we start a new job we feel invigorated and full of hope for a new beginning.

Sometimes this excitement and hope can soon turn into thoughts about whether or not we can actually survive this workplace. It can be caused by a range of different reasons including a lack of role defining, whereby everyone moves into a space of protection of their place within the business. This can create behaviours such as bitching and aggression. Other things than can create toxicity in the workplace are big expectations met with a lack of time and resources and clear communication to achieve them, which can also create bitching and aggression and even bullying. The list goes on.

When we’ve reached the point where we realise just how toxic the environment is, we usually have one of three choices:
1. Leave – flee – escape – run away from your problems. (We do all know deep down that running away only means they will show up again somewhere else)
2. Stay and put up with it. This is generally done with an attitude of “you’re not going to push me around “ so it generates more hostility or it crushes you or both!!
3. Stay and learn what lessons you need to as quickly as you can so you never have to go through that again and then get out of there!!

As we go through life we are faced with challenges. There are times when we feel like we have faced this challenge before although it feels slightly different this time. We can often feel really sick and tired of the same thing happening over and over. However, what is happening in these circumstances is karma. We are faced with karma when we have a lesson to learn. Until we learn the lesson we will be faced with situations that help to teach us the lesson. It is not there to punish us, just to help us to learn.

So if we look at a situation where we arrive in a workplace that is toxic we can be assured that we are there to learn some lesson.

A few tips to help learn lessons quickly

Awareness is your best friend at these times. Becoming aware of how others are speaking to you and how you may be taking their projections or issues on as your own or how you may be reacting are really important clues to finding solutions to release your lesson and how to let it go.

One way we can create awareness is to slightly detach yourself from all communications. It’s like taking a step back and just simply hearing what others are saying not taking on their energy and negativity, just observing. Hearing their words. Has what or how they are saying things got anything to do with you or are they projecting their own issues onto you? If they are projecting, it is their stuff. Why would you want to take on their stuff? They can keep it – its not yours.

You may say – easier said than done. It is actually easy. Try this….

Hear what they say and take what may relate to you. What doesn’t feel like it relates to you is not yours and you can leave that energy there with them.

They may be yelling at you or being aggressive…

You don’t need to be crushed or even affected by their yelling. Why would you let someone’s horrible behaviour affect you? You don’t have to take it personally – remember it’s their stuff. They are feeling crap and can’t deal with it so they are trying to push it onto you. Are you simply going to say “OK I’ll take your issues on for you for you?”

An alternative is to stand there and just look at the person yelling. They will likely do one of 2 things:
1. Stop because they realize they are being silly
2. Push you for a reaction. If they push you for a reaction they are wanting you to bite. I find the best way to handle this is to take a deep breath and stand in my power and say to them “What are you wanting from this conversation With me” or “ I’m just waiting for you to calm down”

When they realise they are not going to get a reaction from you they will walk away. Or simply say, “are you done?” and walk away.

When you stand in your power and don’t allow others to push you around you find that you go home without nasty repetitive thoughts that stop you from sleeping. You can leave your work at work.

Apart from aggression or passive aggression, another harmful form of communication in a toxic work environment is bitching.
Bitching creates a negative environment and indicates people aren’t coping because they are overwhelmed and not processing their emotions. The emotions become too much to handle so they try to push them onto someone else through bitching – pushing your negative energy onto someone else. So it becomes a vicious circle – the aggressor pushes their negativity and issues onto someone else and then the victim circulates the negativity through bitching. You need to stop the cycle. By focusing on the negativity you can become fixated on the what’s wrong and this can reduce or stop you from seeing the positive and beautiful things occurring around you. And so begins the downward spiral.

Awareness is our best friend in these times. When we can see the pattern and cycle of what is happening it’s our first step to overcoming our own issues that have bought us here. We can begin to look within to see what insecurities we may have that force us to react in particular ways and allows us to find ways to change it.

The other important tool in these situations is asking for help and getting in touch with our intuition. We all know intuition is our internal voice that keeps us safe. We’ve all experienced situations where we got a fleeting spark of an idea or thought and ignored it, to only later on say, “I knew I shouldn’t have done that. I should have listened to myself.”

When we are landed in difficult situations where we become overwhelmed, often people shut down and try to do it all on their own. They suppress any help that may be offered and suppress all feelings cause it’s too much to handle. The best way to navigate these troubled times is to stay open and stand within your power, so you can feel what we need to and be open to those little sparks of intuition that will guide you through the challenges you face.

This final tip for navigating these muddy, toxic waters is one that most people balk at – gratitude. Some of the people I am most grateful for in my life is the assholes. I have learned so much from them. I am truly grateful to them for teaching me those lessons. My life is much better for it. While I may never want to see them again, I am truly grateful.
People are faced with difficult and challenging situations everyday. The key to dealing with them is to realise they are lessons and be thankful for the lessons. Learning the lessons we need to ensures we will never have to face them again and our lives will be richer for it.

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Kemina is in Newmarket and does Home Visits. Ph 0400 565 116
Kemina is in Newmarket and does Home Visits. Ph 0400 565 116
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