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What Is The Powerful Truth About Making Toxic Friends at Work?

We’ve all been there. We’ve all had a job that either kept us so busy that we didn’t know how to keep up or we just felt like we couldn’t handle being there one more minute, let alone one more day. So, how do we cope? Most of us would say by complaining, right? The Cut ran an article on April 22, 2019 discussing how complaining turns co-workers into friends.

I think most of us can relate to this since we’ve had at least one job in our careers that we didn’t love or wasn’t the right fit. Let’s take a look at why this is important and how it’s also a sign of something much bigger.

Forming Friendships in the Workplace

Forming bonds is healthy and a not only a necessary part of maintaining a healthy work-life balance, but it can also become a coping a mechanism. When we are carefully forming those bonds around those that we work with and getting to know each other, what we are really doing is evaluating each other and our values to see if we trust each other enough to share those complaints. Once we do, then it becomes a close friendship because there is a deep level of trust.

Complaining has been said to be a good way to develop friendships in the workplace. Using work-related complaints to acquire those friendships also can feel less risky than discussing personal topics to get to know our fellow co-workers.

However, what don’t we know about forming friendships in the workplace? Is there more than what meets the eye?

Yes.

Complaining spreads like wildfire and can infect teams and a workplace. It can keep morale down and keep even the best employees from being productive.

According to the Harvard Business Journal, corporate culture is a powerful driver of human thought and behavior. It tells us what is revered and profane, what is right and wrong, good and bad. Corporate culture is what keeps us in line and ensures that we say, think, and do the right thing. “Right” is defined by our tribe, which is oftentimes our organizations. However, what happens when our tribe- and our organization are toxic?

Learning to Recognize A Toxic Work Culture  

The problem with getting to know someone in this way- by complaining- is that we are not fully getting to know them. So, how do we know if someone is a toxic employee?

Start by looking for the “dark triad”. Those with the tendency to exhibit one set of specific traits, which are known as the dark triad, oftentimes tend to be toxic employees or leaders.

  • Narcissism is the first one within this triad. It is defined as having an extreme interest or admiration in one’s self. Narcissistic people have trouble connecting to organizational values and accepting a team-focused mindset because they are absorbed solely on their own needs and ambitions.
  • Machiavellianism is the second one. This is the megalomaniac and ethically ambiguous mindset who typically keep valuable information to themselves that could benefit others in the organization, pit different groups against each other, and make a group of friends while excluding others from their social circle.
  • Psychopathy is the last within the triad. This is an inability to appropriately deal with negative emotions and impulses.

Some additional signs of a toxic employee include:

  • An individual who has been moved around a lot within the company, teams, divisions, etc.
  • Hypercompetitive employees who step over each other to pursue their goals.
  • Individuals who blame others for issues and problems, that they in fact, caused themselves.
  • Individuals who are overly critical of their peers, subordinates, managers, or leadership.
  • An individual who hordes information and doesn’t act with full transparency or integrity.

What Happens If Your “Friend” is Toxic?

  • Take care of yourself first. You know that old saying “put your oxygen mask on first”? It absolutely applies here. What do you need to be happy, productive, and effective to thrive in your career? It’s not just about survival and dealing with the toxic co-workers; think of how you can thrive in your career.
  • Repair Relationships. A toxic work culture can drive to behave in ways that we may not have ever imagined. We can harm relationships inside and outside the workplace. Repair them- and then begin to take responsibility by your own actions and attitudes and hold yourself accountable. It’s easy to be the individual who always complains and criticizes but it’s not easy to be the person who expects more and drives for something exceptional.
  • Form an alliance. The important part is to keep this going and to make lasting changes. Plan some meetings with your co-workers, your manager, and/ or boss and keep the lines of communication open and discussion going. Take purposeful steps to articulate shared values as well as collective rules of engagement to guide everyone’s behavior.

Instituting a new culture doesn’t happen overnight. In fact, it can take some time because it requires changes in behavior. Remember, the next time you sit down with your co-worker to complain and criticize that it could have powerful consequences and negatively impacting those around you more than you may realize.

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Want to reach career bliss? Book a career coaching strategy session today!

What Happens When Women in Tech Speak Up?

This week, according to Vox, the women at Microsoft are calling it a toxic place to work as alleged discrimination and harassment cases begin to surface after an internal email chain was made public.

The tech industry has long-held the reputation for mistreating their female employees, assigning them what I call “busy work”, and not taking their careers seriously. While women make up over half the workforce, we certainly have a way to go in the tech industry. Inc. recently published some data on the status of women in tech:

  • Women average only 30% of the workforce across major tech companies.
  • This 30% includes both technical and non-technical jobs, such as HR and marketing. Women can’t even hit 20% when it comes to technical jobs at tech companies. They hold merely 17 percent of the tech jobs at Google, 15 percent at Facebook, and only 10 percent at Twitter.
  • Out of the 41 of the Fortune 500 companies in the tech industry, only 5 have a female CEO.
  • Women hold just 14.3% of board seats of the top 100 tech companies.
  • Men are 2 times as likely to be hired for a role in math when the only difference between candidates is their gender, according to a 2013 study from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
  • Approximately 40% of women with engineering degrees either don’t enter the field at all or quit soon thereafter. In addition, women in tech with business degrees also have the tendency to quit the industry before rising in rank.

With stats such as these, women have it hard enough to launch their careers in tech- let alone to seek advancement while dealing with alleged harassment.

More than likely, the women who work at Microsoft involved in this complaint are facing an uphill battle and my advice is to also consider your own well-being and careers.

This recent news indicates that Microsoft may have a culture problem. Once sexual harassment complaints are made and allegedly ignored, it is a sign that an organization needs to start taking steps to not only rectify the issues with its female workforce but to initiate cultural change and work with its senior leadership towards what they want their male workforce to represent. Consistently denying women promotions while men are running circles around them advancing and they’re only doing secretarial work is toxic. In addition, sexual harassment is demeaning and can do a lot of damage to one’s psyche.

As someone who dealt with sexual harassment in the workplace only to have it denied and told it was “my fault”- it creates the most impossible circumstances to work and succeed in. I had projects rejected, was told that my work was sub-par, and that I wasn’t ever going to succeed. It became clear to me that change was not on the horizon, let alone in the cards- so I took my career into my own hands instead of letting it be defined it for me.

Women’s caliber is equal to their male counterparts and they are deserving of so much more and there are organizations who be happy to have them as part of their workforce.

If these allegations are true, Microsoft needs to take active steps towards changing its corporate culture, such as Uber did.

Anyone who understands corporate culture, knows that it refers to the beliefs and behaviors which determine how an organization’s employees and management interact. It develops organically over time from the traits of the individuals an organization hires. This accumulation of traits is what can make an organization evolve and become one that is less focused on equality, diversity, and the advancement of women. However, senior leadership plays an important role by embodying the change that they want to see, caring about its employees’ well-being, and creating a workplace in which everyone can thrive while carrying out the organizational mission and values.

If these are allegations are true, this is where Microsoft needs to make deep-seeded changes because their culture has evolved over time and it now reflects the traits of those hires that are sexually harassing women, rather than those that are there to do good work.

These ladies are taking the first step by making their voices heard within Microsoft and the tech industry. They are talented, bright, and accomplished women who have a solid future in front them.

To them, I say, don’t give up.

Even if your company chooses not to hear you, there are women who do and appreciate your efforts towards making change and speaking up. I hear you and I am with you even if you don’t realize it.

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Want to reach career bliss? Book a career coaching strategy session today!

This Is How A Toxic Work Culture Impacts A Career

Are you trapped in a position where there is a lot of conflict, misalignment, and disagreements? Do you think that it is easier to remain “status quo” rather than start a job search? Are you comfortable there despite all the negativity and toxicities? Maybe you’re thinking that you won’t receive any of your current benefits and perks in a new position?

Your career wasn’t meant to be “status quo” and no one thrives in an environment where there is a lot of negativity. Can your career blossom and bloom where things are dying? It’s time to challenge yourself and your beliefs.

My client, Liz*, was afraid to change positions because she had so many perks at her job. Her boss basically let her make her own hours and work from home when she needed. Sounds nice, right? Sure, until she wanted to advance within the company. Then came the gender-based comments about what kind of leader she would be. She was one of two women within the local division of the company. You’ve probably heard these before as a female…you’re too emotional, you need to be tougher, or maybe a female hasn’t done it before…

OUCH. This isn’t exactly actionable or helpful feedback. So, do you stay in this environment or look for something new? Liz* is looking for a new position, one which will provide her with the capabilities, feedback, and growth potential. She is refusing to give up on what she believes is her purpose.

By giving up on your purpose you are ultimately changing the way your life is meant to be. This will create a deep inner struggle because you will resent what it is you are doing, your employer, and ultimately- not being aligned with all these things.

This will eat away at your confidence and keep you from where you want to be. You will feel stressed to a level where you are bringing it home and it will cause conflicts with your loved ones. This stress can eat at your sleep and your health as well.

This really isn’t fair. You’re not supposed to work not to progress and be stuck in a toxic work culture and then have all this stress added on top of it.

There are simple steps that I have always followed, and they work for my clients as well.

  • Take action, following a proven step-by-step process.
  • Be Confident. And not the fake it till you make it kind- the true, authentic, bold confidence that lives inside of you.
  • Apply actionable feedback.

I KNOW that these steps work. I have helped numerous women up level their careers and their life by attaining the position that they dream of. So, imagine if this was you…?

  • You’d have less stress! This means that you will sleep better and no longer bring all that stress and anxiety home with you to your loved ones.
  • You won’t have a case of the Sundays…every single day.
  • You will thrive in a workplace that you actually enjoy. Now, when everyone you know talks about how much they love their job- you won’t be left out anymore.

These strategies can begin to work within a few weeks and it’s so powerful.

Click here to register to watch my free masterclass and learn more how confidence can impact your career, particularly in a job search- even if you are leaving a toxic work culture. 

Don’t put this off. This is your career- and your future. What’s more important than that?

This will be the best 45 minutes that you have spent on your career. Finally, turn any of your negative emotions into confidence and get the career that you want – and deserve. Click here to register to watch.