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The Managers’ Role in Protecting Their Teams From Toxic Work Culture

By Numly - Leadership Coaching Group
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Toxic culture is a workplace illness that can be caused due to increased absences, tardiness, and lack of cohesion among collaborating teams. Toxic work culture not only impacts employee retention but also impacts productivity and overall company turnover. 

Toxic work cultures cause 10 times more resignations in the corporate world! 

In most corporate settings, there is a hierarchy where managers are designated for each team. So, it increases the responsibility of the manager to address the issues their teammates are facing and take appropriate actions. 

In this article, we will discuss how managers play a crucial role in protecting their teams from toxic work culture and the steps they can take to build a positive working environment.

Why is toxic work culture bad for organizations and teams?

A toxic workplace represents a dysfunctional setting that does not value human values. Such places are rife with gossip, unrealistic expectations, selfishness, unnecessary overtime shifts, gossip, and mistrust.

Employees working in a toxic culture also experience burnout, mental health problems, and physical health issues, making it a concern that requires immediate attention.

What is the role of managers in avoiding a toxic work culture?

Managers have an immense responsibility in the workplace. They are bridges that align individual team members with the organization’s long-term goals and vision. They also represent the company culture through their ways of leading a team and driving team productivity. 

What most managers often skip in practice is the realization of the high stakes that ride on their shoulders. They have the power and ability to make or break their team’s work ethic and how they approach challenges. 

Every manager is a good manager when the team is delivering results, but the leadership qualities of a manager truly shine when things go south. Understanding, developing, and practicing leadership habits can help managers handle their teams with innovation and relevance at all times.

One of the best practices that a manager can opt to protect their team from toxic work culture is to stop being a “boss” and instead focus on being a coach or mentor. Adopting a coaching mindset allows team leads to build a high-performing team without compromising the well-being of the employees. It also helps them understand the strengths and weaknesses of each team member that they can use to maximize results. 

Managers should provide meaningful work opportunities to their teammates where they are more likely to shine and grow in their careers. Career pathing is the primary role of every manager 

Managers who are eager to invest in building the professional abilities of their team members are likely to have more influence. Their team becomes more receptive to feedback and more open to facing adverse outcomes. Being a coach or a mentor is about shifting the managerial attitude from know-it-all to learn-it-all, which shows that you stand with your team and are willing to solve the problem with them and not just expect a solution from them.

Top practices that managers can adopt

Here are a few tips on building a positive work environment

  • Don’t shy away from talking about your teams’ issues and concerns. Build a rapport with the team and make them comfortable talking about their insecurities, biases, anxieties, etc. Only then you can help them overcome those. 
  • Take regular feedback from your team. Employee dialogue is a critical element in ensuring employee happiness and engagement. 
  • Establish a sense of security in your team members.
  • Add value by providing your team with meaningful career opportunities. Your high-potential employees need projects that will challenge them, they need greater visibility and learning experiences, and they also need to be coached and mentored to move to the next level. 
  • Lead by example.
  • Work on upskilling your team and filling the skill gaps
  • Don’t keep an authoritative approach. Focus on the overall development and learnings of the team.
  • Challenge your team but be willing to teach them if they fall short of expectations
  • Keep a sustainable mindset and develop a growth mindset in the team.
  • Take complete responsibility for your team’s actions.
  • Embrace the diversity in your team.

Train with experts to become better leaders 

Toxic work culture can be prevented if managers are willing to keep a flexible approach. Because building a high-performing team depends more on how willing you are, as a leader, to train and educate your team and not just expect results. 

As discussed in the sections above, it is high time managers transition into coaches and embrace the shift in mindset. However, it is a lot harder to practice. 

Many managers who are willing to be coaches lack the knowledge to drive it. In such cases, it is better to take help from professionals. We at Numly offer a 60-day pilot. Join this pilot to get an opportunity to improve your leadership skills and become an effective coach for your teams.

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