By Kathy Archer
Employees in a toxic environment are often unwell. The culture they work in contributes to their ill health and in fact, exacerbates it. You may know a workplace like this all too well! I certainly have been through it.
If you are struggling with physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual health, my guess is you take every one of your sick days. Your physical illnesses, like another “cold,” may be just a coverup for the emotional and mental difficulties that you face daily. But you don’t really care. What you want is out. You just don’t know how to do that.
When I was working in a toxic environment, I felt like I was being targeted by a couple of people. Each day I’d walk in and wait to be verbally attacked, raked over the coals or stared down at a meeting. Each night I’d leave the office and barely make it to the safety of my car before I was in tears. I ended up on anti-depressants and took two weeks off before deciding to come back to work. Let me tell you; it took every ounce of willpower in me to return to work.
One of the contributing factors in toxic cultures is that many individuals dread going to work every day. They don’t feel safe. In fact, employees in a toxic environment feel “on alert” all day, ready to attack the next crisis or put out the next fire. In toxic cultures, people are stuck in fight, flight or freeze mode all day. As the adrenaline rushes through their bodies, they never relax long enough to release it all. This heightened arousal state leads to more sickness.
When I returned to work, I also began to work out with lunchtime trips to Curves. The physical exercise helped to release much of that built up adrenaline. The change in my body, both weight loss and muscle building boosted my confidence. That combined with support and mentoring helped me to impact the culture I worked in and boost my mood without the use of medication. But it took time, a commitment and a ton of prayer! I write about how you too can develop your confidence in my book Mastering Confidence: Awaken your leadership potential by awakening your inner guidance system.
The thing is, cultures can change. In our work, we help leaders move their workplace culture from toxic or tolerable to a magnetic culture. In a magnetic culture, employees are drawn to it because they are engaged with the work and the team, they feel they matter, know they are doing work that is meaningful and trust it’s ok to be curious.
What’s more, health and wellness in a magnetic culture take a holistic focus. It includes all facets of health including emotional, physical, mental, and spiritual. Now doesn’t that sound like a place you want to be a part of?
To keep evolving towards building your Magnetic Workplace, ensure you are engaging with your team. Use the 12 ways to increase employee engagement in under 3 minutes a day as a starting point. Don't forget to challenge yourself to try out each of the 12 strategies.
When you grab that download, we will continue to send you tips to help you create that engagement. For more information about working with us, please contact us here.
Articles by Bill Scott & Kathy Archer
Sometimes the articles are written collaboratively. Other times, it's just one of us putting fingers to keyboard. We'll try to remember to tell you.