7 Signs of a Toxic Work Environment…and What To Do

by / ⠀Career Advice / May 11, 2022
Signs of a Toxic Work Environment

It’s no secret that being in a toxic work environment can be incredibly frustrating and even damaging. Unfortunately, many people fail to identify the signs of a toxic work environment and continue working there for years.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, embattled, or just not enjoying your work anymore, it might be time to take a look around and observe.

There are several signs that your workplace could be toxic, and if you don’t take action, your health and well-being will suffer.

7 Main Signs of a Toxic Work Environment

  • Lack of Accountability
  • Not Receiving Appreciation for Hard Work
  • Continuous Bullying
  • No Fair Shot at Career Advancement
  • You Have No Say in Work Matters
  • Your Boss Micromanages Constantly
  • You Face Constant Criticism

Let’s break these down and see what we can do about them.

1. Lack of Accountability

When you have a manager who doesn’t hold anyone accountable, it creates a toxic work environment.

It means people can do whatever they want, including calling in sick, coming late, not doing their work on time, etc. Therefore, when people don’t feel like they can be honest with their boss or coworker, it creates problems for everyone.

These things will bring down the entire team’s productivity level. As a result, the hard workers will be the ones pulling all-nighters to finish tasks their coworkers should’ve.

Plus, not being held accountable will encourage bullies to act aggressively towards other employees, making the environment more toxic.

2. Not Receiving Appreciation for Hard Work

When you’re underappreciated, your efforts aren’t being recognized, especially when others who crave flattery get a pat on their back for little to no work.

When you’re not being appreciated for your hard work, it creates a toxic environment that can lead to burnout. As a result, this can cause low productivity, stress, and anxiety. It can also create a lack of motivation.

3. Continuous Bullying

Being bullied at work is a very frustrating and draining experience. It can bring down your morale and significantly decrease productivity.

If you don’t do anything about it, it can cause severe mental strain leading to stress, anxiety, and even depression.

4. No Fair Shot at Career Advancement

Have you been working hard, pulling all-nighters, and doing everything in your power to get that promotion…but you just can’t? Your coworkers are getting promotions or bonuses, but you’re just stuck despite the hard work? Therefore, this could be a major sign of a toxic work environment because it may involve favoritism and discrimination.

Suppose you’re not given the opportunity for career advancement. In that case, it will make you feel like you’re not valuable to the company, and it will create an atmosphere of fear and intimidation.

5. You Have No Say in Work Matters

It’s very easy for a manager or boss to stop people from voicing their opinions, especially if they’re against their agendas. As a result, a good leader will listen to his/her employees’ opinions without bringing their egos into the conversation.

People should have the right to raise their voices against unfair treatment at work. However, if they don’t allow you to do that, it could be a sign of a toxic work environment.

6. Your Boss Micromanages Constantly

Micromanaging is like treating employees like brainless individuals who don’t know any better. If your boss is constantly micromanaging you, it could mean they think you’re too stupid to make decisions on your own.

Furthermore, it could mean that your boss thinks you’re incompetent. Also, having someone constantly breathing down on your neck and questioning your every move is like being in a cage. Therefore, a positive work environment will encourage initiative and trust you with your decision.

7. You Face Constant Criticism

Do you face criticism all the time? It means your superiors or even coworkers are evaluating you for the smallest things. This could make you feel bad about yourself and make you feel like you’re incompetent. It means you’re always on the receiving end of putdowns. People are judging you all the time.

Plus, it also means that your coworkers don’t respect you. As a result, it could mean they don’t think you’re competent and don’t trust you.

What To Do If You Are in a Toxic Work Environment

If you don’t feel satisfied in the workplace due to bullying, gossiping, favoritism, not being able to share your ideas, or lack of accountability, it’s important to talk to your manager. Communicating with your manager is important because they’re the ones who can fix the problem.

You need to tell them how you’re feeling and what they should do to make the workplace positive for everyone. You need to make sure that the higher-ups hear your voice and don’t ignore you. Also, you can carry out a small survey asking your coworkers about their thoughts on the situation to make your case stronger.

If your manager doesn’t listen to you, try knocking doors of the HR department. Also, you can try talking to someone in a key position like the CEO.

Not everyone in an organization can be a toxic person. In fact, telling the key decision-makers about the toxic environment can typically result in a better response unless they don’t care about their company losing employees in the future.

Parting Thoughts

If you find yourself in a toxic work environment, it’s important to speak up and take action. By identifying the signs of a toxic work environment and remedying them, you can take your career in the right direction.

However, if after doing everything, you still achieve nothing, it might be time to call it quits and start hunting for a different job. You cannot fix a company that’s a breeding ground of toxicity with no way of improving.

About The Author


Taha Khan is a professional content writer by trade. He is a business administration graduate with a focus and interest in marketing and entrepreneurship. Khan has been working as a content writer for several years and has collaborated with 100+ businesses on their content marketing projects. When not writing, he is probably reading – mostly going through psychology and philosophy books. And when Khan is not reading, he is gaming on his PC – another hobby mostly associated with introverts.