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Signs of a Toxic Work Environment and How to Prevent It

Psychological injuries, more likely to occur in toxic work environments, may cost Iowa employers in workers' compensation claims. Forbes lays out some signs of an unhealthy workplace, including nontransparent communication, among others. Employees who cannot trust their leaders to interact with honesty have difficulty flourishing at work and, in fact, have been "set up to fail."

Another telltale sign Forbes points out is a constantly changing rulebook. When guidelines are not clear but switch up randomly for reasons no one quite understands, employees feel cheated, as if their colleagues get better treatment. 

Other signs of a toxic work environment Forbes mentions are: 

  • Gossip corners
  • Narcissistic leadership
  • Burned-out staff

Forbes suggests employees be on the lookout for these symptoms of toxicity. On the flip side, employers should not ignore these signs but be proactive in creating a more positive climate.

According to the American Psychological Association's Center for Organizational Excellence, employers should take steps to protect their employee's psychological health. One of the best ways to offer safety is to communicate. Communication enhances clarity between leadership and subordinates, downplaying ambiguity. When leaders are dialoguing openly with staff, each understands the other's goals, needs and challenges. 

In addition to the positive benefits of communication, the rewards of growth opportunities, says the APA, contribute much to an organization's robustness. When an employee feels his or her job is a place to learn and grow, that worker's psyche is more likely to reflect strong motivation and satisfaction on the job. In this case, everyone wins.