Is it really a healthy work environment when you can't even keep up with who your co-workers are? Hello, White House. But it's not just our government. Haven't most of us at one point been employed by a company or boss who - literally - made us sick?
How does a workplace turn into hell?
Ask a Manager workplace expert Alison Green explains that that kind of culture always comes from the top.
"If you are seeing from the top they are setting that culture then you can’t change it," Green says. "It can only be fixed from the top."
If it doesn’t look like it will change, there’s only one resolution—you have to leave.
“It is really bad for you, that work environment, for your mental and physical health,” she says. “It’s also bad for you in a way people don’t think about…If you stay in an environment like that for long, at your next job you end up carrying these dysfunctional ideas of work. If you have a terrible boss who shoots the messenger, or yells at you, people go to their next job in a healthy environment, and they are shut down and terrified. Then they engage in toxic behaviors that get them in trouble—they will hide mistakes or they won’t speak up when they think something is wrong.”
Green says it can hurt you professionally, because it’s not limited to the time you spent in the dysfunction.
“You should get out, it can really mess with your head,” she says. “You do get the immediate relief, but if you stay for a long time it can be hard to get out of those toxic patterns of thinking.”
There a few exceptions when you can stay. “You have to figure out if you are someone who can stay in the craziness and still be reasonably happy,” says Alison.
“Some people are thick skinned and not that emotionally invested in their work,” she says. “But can you be that person? Can you say ‘I hate my boss, but I’m getting these tradeoffs…in the case of the White House it’s the prestige of working there…But there’s a point where that doesn’t work.”
Green says from what she’s read, the White House employees are dealing with real workplace toxicity and “not run-of-the-mill dysfunction.”
“There’s the dysfunction you see from general incompetence, then there’s also more personality-driven, fear-based management style…The yelling, thrown under the bus at any minute, personal insults. That’s the kind of stuff I would never advise someone to stay and tolerate.”
Overall, a chaotic workplace is a recipe for misery and mental health issues, and Green says the term for a boss with a tyrannical style is probably “***hole.”
“It’s bad for everyone,” she says. “It’s bad for management too. You’re not gonna get the results you want, you’re not going to be able to produce great work. Everyone is going to make mistakes in the course of their work; how do you create an environment where that is productive?"
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