Taming a toxic workplace

Here is a very useful and sensible article by Kate L. Harrison, referencing Anna Conrad’s work on ways to operate better in a toxic workplace environment. Ms Conrad has six suggestions.

 The first is to look inwards, to see whether you are yourself contributing to the situation.

The second is to separate the things you objectively know to be true from those you only believe to be the case.

The third is not to add to the toxicity by venting.

The fourth is to “remember it’s just a job”: Ms Conrad suggests people “Focus on the fun stuff and work and (not) …get too invested in the interpersonal dynamics.”

The fifth is to be an anthropologist and observe the situation, which will allow you to “step back from negativity.”

Finally, she recommends people learn from the experience.  Ms Conrad suggests a post mortem at the end of the week – brainstorm on what worked, what didn’t work, how to improve – and not who is at fault.

Ms Conrad makes the important distinction between being harassed, discriminated against or bullied, when she says people should seek help, for example from a senior manager or a lawyer, and what she calls “run-of-the-mill pettiness”. In the latter case, she feels a change of mindset can change how you react to the situation and improve your life at work.