Tips on how to maintain your integrity and block out negativity within a toxic workplace.
If toxicity breeds toxicity, then positivity breeds positivity. When working in a toxic workplace, the power of toxicity is usually strong enough to infiltrate through the most well-meaning intentions of employees, especially if that toxicity is being served from the higher rungs of the organization. In the beginning of every episode of Toxic Workplace, the guest describes their positive outlook and heightened motivation as they enter into a new workplace. Once inside, their high spirits are quickly crushed by the negativity that is being driven by leadership and carried out by employees.
It's incredibly hard to maintain a positive outlook when working in one of these soul-crushing environments, but then again, cranking out 50 push-ups without conditioning is incredibly hard, but it's possible with the right conditioning. Maintaining positivity depends on your integrity, increased focus, and conditioning mental strength. You'll realize that harnessing positivity will serve you and those around you with the antidote needed to survive a toxic workplace.
Hold Your Integrity:
Most new employees enter into an organization with the best of intentions. Good intentions stem from integrity. As human beings we hold integrity within our lives as a means of moral obligation; to act in a way that is right and good. When we encounter others that challenge our integrity, we can feel it in our gut. This is the "red flag" or "gut instinct" you feel when someone within the organization says or does something that does not align with the same level of integrity as you. When you ignore these gut instincts (as many of us do) and go along with the way of the organization, you start to lose sight of your own integrity and mesh with the low morale of the surrounding environment. This is why it is imperative to know what you stand for and why you are here. When placed in a difficult situation or conversation, stay focused on integrity. It may take some digging, so take the time to find a shovel and clear some space for your purest intentions. Questions like: Is this an honest approach?; Will this have an overall positive effect on the people of this organization?; How will this message be received by others?; Do these words or actions show good character?
Maintaining focus is a challenge especially in today's world where technology has expediated communication and shortened patience. It's okay to take time to process and reflect before giving a response. Incorporate small reminders into your workspace that will guide you through rough patches where it's easy to lose touch with your true intentions. Daily positivity desk calendars, an inspiring quote taped to your computer monitor or phone, a picture of someone who inspires you to do the right thing, these are all visuals that will keep you on track. If visuals aren't your thing, make time during the day to break away and focus on something positive. Maybe a break simply entails walking outside for five minutes and appreciating a cool breeze or an elderly person walking their dog. The purpose is to stay in touch with what is good and not the toxicity within the walls of your negative workplace.
Conditioning mental strength:
You’re probably thinking, “easier said than done!” And I get it. It’s easy to talk about staying positive when you’re not in a bad situation. This is why it’s important for you to go into the challenge already mentally strong. Make it a point to do uplifting activities outside of work. Surround yourself with the people that support and love you; those who lift you up. Notice yourself when you’re feeling strong and positive. Be in the moment and realize that you can be strong and positive in any situation. Bottle that positivity in that moment and pull it out the next time you’re triggered at work. Like all things worth having it takes repetition and ongoing conditioning to maintain any form of strength.
What these three bullet points boil down to is maintaining quality of character. There is no doubt toxic workplaces present many challenges, but these challenges will serve as conditioning exercises to strengthen your values and refine a stronger character who is capable of enduring even the most turbulent situations which will lead you to great accomplishments and fulfillment.
Written by Carleigh M.