Ending the Saga of the Toxic Work Environment

If you experience a toxic work environment on a daily basis, you will dread work. You get to work, and you get that feeling. You know it, it feels heavy, dark. Your office is cold and unwelcoming. You don’t want to have this feeling but you can’t shake it. You might have even tried blaring the music on the way to work with your favorite song playing in the background. You left the house after hugging your children, and said “today is going to be a good day”.

This is the mantra you frequently tell yourself as you leave the house Monday to Friday. You get there and in the first hour of your day, you can throw that mantra out the window. 

Does this sound like something you might be facing on a daily basis? If it is, you are NOT alone.

Several months ago, I felt the same. Each morning I repeated my mantra, kissed my kids goodbye, and headed off to work with a positive mindset. 

The receptionist at the front office was always pulling at me asking to put more patients/clients on my roster today. After seeing my first client, something that should have taken me 20 minutes took you 40. Now I’m already behind.

I walk through hallway where I might as well not exist because the support staff are glued to their phones going through the 16th iteration of TikTok this morning. I wanted to scream!

After going through the same cycle over and over again, week after week, I  decided I no longer wanted to be the subject of this saga of “The Toxic Workplace Environment”.  It was time I told a new story.

I began to consider, “If I could go back and start your day over would I do anything differently? Could I show up in a different way? By deciding to do things my way, despite factors around me, I found that I was more fulfilled in my day. Each day I asked myself those questions, slowly things began to change. It wasn’t what I was doing but how I approached what I was doing.

I discovered, even if the technologist down the hall or the front desk staff were pulling at my time, I could decide how I would respond to them and when I could give them time. Saying hello to my co-workers and asking about them changed the dynamic. 

In short, you have set the tone for the day and decided how you will arrive. After all, the way you treat others, is often a reflection of how you treat yourself. By changing my thought process from purely reaction, I thought about how I wanted to arrive and be present in my day. It simply did not matter how those around me were acting. After a trial period, I discovered two powerful tools that enabled me to turn a toxic work environment into a catalyst for change. 

Finding 3 Things

Blasting the music loud, and reiterating the mantra that “today is going to be a good day,” were good ways of diverting my attention but they were not fixing the inherent problem. Instead, I took the process of writing 3 things down every day, either before I went to bed or in the morning. Those 3 things had to be concise and specific to what happened at work today that was enjoyable. 

For example, I included a co-worker complimenting my outfit, enjoying the first few sips of my hot morning coffee, and having a patient say thank you for really listening. By finding 3 things a day that were positive, I found each day I started with a renewed energy and could focus on finding my next 3 things.

The Formulaic Approach to Problems

In addition to keeping a list of my 3 things, I decided to use a formula where I wrote down what I thought the problem was, who it included, and if it was something that directly affected me. As such, instead of pretending problems didn’t exist, I allowed them to exist. However, if the problem did impact me, I brainstormed ideas that could be potential points of growth or change. 

These two tools became effective ways for me to organize my thoughts, and decide where I could put my energy to advocate for change.

While tips are not life changing and not completely novel, they are ways you can help change your mindset on a daily basis. Although, I could not change others, I realized the toxicity of my workplace was not based on individuals,  but was a culmination of ideas and thoughts that were affecting all of us. In order to start impacting change, I chose to play a role in making things better, by adding value where I saw useful.

Last Words

In short, a toxic work environment is not always someone else. Ending the saga begins with change, change within yourself. Try these two simple methods and you just might find yourself smiling on your way into work. 

Need some help with that? Contact me for a free 30 minute exploratory coaching session to determine if coaching is right for you or book it now.

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