Recently I’ve been reminded of how hard it is to be productive when you are in a toxic environment. When the office seems like a war zone, or you know your boss will down play your accomplishments it is extremely hard to focus on doing your job done properly. Hating where you work or who you work with on a daily basis will lower your engagement which directly impacts your job performance.
To combat this you have several options, you can see what you can do to change the environment that you are in or you can leave that job. The reality of this market is that you may have to stay in the position until you can find something better. If you find yourself in that position you must do the best you can in spite of the toxic environment around you. Keeping your skills top notch will aid you when it’s time to move on, either within your current organization or to a new opportunity. In the world of behavioral based interviewing being able to demonstrate how you succeeded in difficult circumstances can help set you apart from your competition.
So how do you stay on top of your game when the cards are stacked against you?
- Focus on your job. Seems obvious but it is really critical to stay on top of the things that you are assigned to do. Getting caught up in all the ugliness around you will pull your energy away from the tasks at hand.
- Take the high road. When people around you attempt to bring you down by back stabbing or other ugly tricks to put you down while bringing themselves up, take the high road. Doing the same things back creates a vicious cycle that will taint your actions.
- Identify your work. If others are taking credit for your work to get ahead at your expense then make sure you tag your documents so you can show it as yours. It may be done in the file name; it could be by adding footer with name and date. Keep copies if possible or if it will help prove your capabilities.
- Keep the goal in sight. The reason why you are doing your very best is to get to a better place as soon as you can. Remind yourself of this on a regular basis. People respect others who do their best even in adverse conditions. Staying on top your responsibilities will show that you are dedicated to getting things done properly. This will work for you when the time comes.
- Look for the positives. When things are at their worst look for the things that are good in your position. Maybe you really like some of your coworkers, maybe you can help ease others, maybe you get to do work you love doing. Whatever it is that you find positive will make it easier to do things well.
I know from personal experience how hard it is to care about the work you are doing when you have become disillusioned with the company. Knowing that I did the best I could made it easier for me to sell my experience when I was moving on to the next position.
Frank Sinatra said “The best revenge is massive success.” Make this your motto and it will be easier to succeed in spite of the toxicity.
What you done to survive in a toxic environment?