Woodruff and Colleagues

ncreasing Team Productivity

If you’ve ever worked in a toxic work environment, you will understand the effect it has on productivity.  I once worked for a company with a team of 9 individuals with 2 people sharing the Supervisor position.  Overall, we got along very well and the service we provided was exceptional.  There were, however, two personnel who weren’t happy unless they were stirring the pot.  They would speak to one another in whispers, glance sideway at another staff member and giggle, just genuinely rude behaviour.  Some might refer to them as the workplace bullies.  Whenever they were working, the Supervisors faced staff issues as they would put in a complaint about one thing or another that wasn’t substantiated, just wasted time and upsetting morale.  This company lost their major contract to a competitor, and these were the only two people who weren’t offered a position with the new company.  This speaks volumes to the degree a company might have to go to in re-establishing a healthy work environment.


What often happens in a toxic environment is nobody wants to acknowledge the problem(s) that one or two staff members are causing.  Other staff members don’t want to “squeal” on their colleagues, and management either isn’t aware of the noxious behaviour, or they are so uncomfortable addressing it that they choose to ignore it.  They often self-justify the behaviour isn’t a problem if no-one on the team is complaining about it.  The consequences of this non-action, however, is the company often ends up losing top performers to their competition.  I know of no company who has more staff than is needed, so if one of your team members leaves, that means you have to replace them, and those costs can be as high as one and a half times the employee’s annual salary.  Although uncomfortable, the only solution is the address poor behaviours on the team, and establish policies to deal with them.

If you wonder if your team has anyone displaying poor behaviour that leads to a toxic work environment, click here to see 5 discreet signs of a toxic work environment.


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