Toxic culture in the company

A woman sitting at her laptop being attacked by her toxic boss. Toxic culture in the company. Signs of a toxic corporate culture

Toxic corporate culture, toxic leadership – what are the signs of a toxic culture?

How toxic leadership poisons the working atmosphere and working environment

Toxic corporate culture. A growing problem in Germany. Especially in the area of ​​leadership. It can have a devastating impact on the working atmosphere. There is also a decline in morale and productivity. But nobody wants that. Still, it happens far too often. Signs of this start with bullying and micromanagement. And all of this has a negative effect on that Team. Because the behavior of the toxic leader can make a big difference.

As much as you can do wrong, the possibility of promoting it is just as great Teams. On this page you will find nine signs of toxic leadership behavior. So that employees and employers can identify the problem. Before it gets out of hand. And hopefully you can change something soon.

The increase in toxic leadership in Germany is a growing problem for employees. It is particularly important to take this change seriously. Because such behavior is usually modeled and tolerated by company management and copied and imitated by employees. You may lose confidence in the ability of the HR department and leave the company in the long term.

The first sign of a toxic corporate culture – No error culture

Toxic companies are dangerous. Dangerous for employees. There is a lot of politics going on within. And mistakes are used to eliminate the competition and competitors. But actually it's all a company. Actually, the focus is on mutual success. Not here. The behavior is already modeled by the company management. It is tolerated, imitated and copied. A kind of negative spiral arises. Once initiated, this process is difficult to reverse. Only with radical and consistent changes can something be achieved.

Our advice:
We all make mistakes. So introduce a culture of error. Allow employees to try new things. Don't punish mistakes. Instead, encourage employees to try things out. This is the only way to create trust. This is the only way people think “out of the box”. If you're willing, your business can go the extra mile. You can regularly choose the biggest mistake! This creates a relaxed atmosphere. And ensures that everyone stays creative and motivated. Or you can analyze the errors in a non-judgmental way. This means everyone can learn from it. Not just the employee who made it. Anyone who learns from their mistakes is smart. Those who learn from other people's mistakes are wise.

The second sign – Commanding style of leadership

Usually there is a commanding one management style. No energy or time is invested in the employees. It is assumed that it just works. Power is manifested through dominance and provocation. But will you be happy there? When trust and respect are missing? Individual employees may “work.” But they are not willing to go the “extra mile”. For what too? A company management that is not supportive? There is simply no positive connection to the company. And that ends in dissatisfaction and termination. 

Our advice:
Apply emotional style. Try to listen. Actively understand. Not just to answer. Work for your employees, not against them. Help them as a coach, mentor and sparring partner. This is the best form of support. But also the most complex. And individually the most suitable. Your employees will thank you. You will be more effective and more powerful. So give them the feeling of being able to develop. Without having to worry about making mistakes or unpleasant consequences. That alone can make a big difference. 

The third sign – own agenda

In some companies different interests are pursued. Namely only your own. Nobody thinks outside the box. The result is silo thinking. “First me and then everyone else.” This makes effective collaboration virtually impossible. The ego is responsible for this. Everyone only looks after themselves. In the short term, everyone only wants to achieve their own goals. In the long term, this thinking leads to failure. Because there are no shortcuts for honest progress.

Our advice:
Silo thinking has never helped anyone. Leverage collaboration. Promote Cooperation. That should be the focus. Departments that work together achieve much better results. They are 27% more innovative. And 42% more effective. So you should take such signs seriously. It will be worth it.

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+49 174 1614 254

The fourth sign – Only results matter

The employees have no importance. Numbers are seen as more important. However, motivation and bounce rate are not counted among the numbers. All of this is ignored as long as the numbers are correct. Like a competitive sport in which mental Health is swept under the carpet. But that doesn't last in the long term. And this phenomenon is regularly seen in private equity-led companies. Talk to our Executives Coach.

Our advice:
Employees should be the focus! They are everything for successful companies. So take GOOD care of her. Then they also take care of the company. Motivated employees are 63% more effective. So put together a motivated army. Do EVERYTHING for it. So that it's yours Team goes well. So that they are content and happy. And don’t forget: “You work for your employees and not the other way around.” The climate makes the difference.

The fifth sign – extroverts perform better than introverts

Most of the time, the one who shouts the loudest wins. What do we mean by that? Introverts are terrible at self-promotion. Most of the time they are out of development. Extroverted people in the company use this fact to their advantage. You distinguish yourself. These are mainly people from sales and marketing. A struggle for power arises. Discreet, but with a negative influence on both sides. Although together they could achieve much more. That doesn't have to be the case.

Our advice:
Be the voice of the weak. Give them a voice. Involve them in decision-making processes. Put others in their place when they try to dominate. Heed every voice, no matter how loud! This allows you to include more perspectives. You get important information. From and about your employees and the processes behind their work. While other companies don't pay attention, you can learn from these things. And solve problems proactively.

Do you have Ask? We from yours Coaching Institut Frankfurt have specialized in this topic.

The Sixth Sign – There is no trust

Trust has no place in such companies. Hybrid models of work would never work either.

Tampering
Control
Silo thinking
Politics
bad slander
Demotivation

With all these things, the last spark of trust disappears. The job is at risk. Everyone has to look around and just works. And that every day. They switch to “survival mode” instead of “trust mode”. All of these effects, mental, physical, chemical, can have devastating consequences. For the company itself.

Our advice:
You can't buy trust. You have to work it out little by little. That’s the job of every good leader. And it is a priority. The emotional leadership style helps here. Lost trust is rebuilt step by step. In addition, it is important that conflicts are seen. And you take care of it. This is not just trust, but also the opportunity for a positive work culture. It is important to be consistent in your actions. Soon the tide will turn. You will get a positive spiral. It's going up. 

The seventh sign – Bad HR

The HR area is different here. It works differently. Their management is usually the first problem. “The fish always stinks from the head first.” The leader’s views lead to the hiring of like-minded people. But that's not always good. To put it in one picture: “The clear water becomes murkier until you can no longer see anything.” The new arrivals muddy the water. Good employees feel and notice this. They either complain after a while. Or they leave the company directly. They also lose trust in the HR department. This is not always recognized at first. Good business coaching can help here. Talk to us actively.

Our advice:
Trust and respect should be part of the company’s DNA. The personnel selection department should ensure this. It's their job. You have to clearly define what suits the company. And find those who best represent employees and managers. And represent the values. This should already be done during the application process. So you have to get to the root of the problem.

The eighth sign – escalation culture

One sign is that everything is escalating. Namely, directly to the highest places. Nobody takes responsibility. You could burn your fingers. But escalation does not solve problems. It's just for job security.

Our advice:
Here too we want to go back to the cause. We should start there. Escalation should only be used if something cannot be resolved bilaterally. However, people who can de-escalate should be rewarded. They serve as role models. One thing should be clear: “The manager is always there. But always try to solve it yourself first.” We put people in the role of the director. You act decisively and confidently. This not only makes them more capable. It also saves energy and time at the manager level. This means they can focus more on strategic aspects of the company.

The ninth sign – The culture of fear

In such an environment, employees are constantly afraid. Fear of making mistakes. Afraid to try things out. From embarrassment, from failure and failure. A bad corporate culture acts like poison. For the satisfaction of the employees and the success of the company. Nobody can develop freely here. No flower blooms. Instead everything is dreary and gray. New employees are no longer motivated to do more than they have to for their money. The reward is more compensation than motivation. Responsibility is simply passed on. Because there is always someone to blame. But no one wants to be guilty. 

Our advice:
Eliminate fear as quickly as possible. By finding out what triggers them. This can also mean that a senior person has to leave for the greater good. A member of the board can also show false values. Or you should say goodbye to a CEO. Take away the fear! In return you receive trust, motivation and strong employees. If you have any further questions, please contact us. We can help you!

The tenth sign – blindness of the manager

A leader is characterized by being able to lead people. She gets the best out of them. Poor leadership should not be tolerated. But sometimes the HR department doesn't look. They are blind to it. Although it can be a great opportunity for growth. The manager himself receives wrong signals from colleagues. She is deaf to feedback and self-reflection. This despairs the employees. But they are also afraid of starting a revolution. One by one they leave the department. The best begin to be silent. But internally they have already quit. That's for sure.

Our advice:
Form a group of employees. With such leadership, they should stick together. And TOGETHER you discuss the case with the works council. They can't all be fired. But without a group, you would be an easy target. Individuals could be singled out. And systematically psychologically destroyed. This doesn't happen as a group. You are not vulnerable. And you work together.

If you have any further questions, we will be happy to provide you with advice and support. Only together we are strong.

Free initial consultation

+49 174 1614 254

What does a toxic culture mean?

It refers to the work environment. It is characterized by bullying, fear, excessive demands and mistrust. Employees are unhappy and dissatisfied. That has an impact Health and work performance. It only has disadvantages. And once identified, the problems can be solved quickly. But it takes commitment.

How do you recognize such a culture?

It can manifest itself in different ways. E.g. due to high fluctuation, a lack of motivation and commitment. Conflicts and tensions as well as a lack of cooperation are also signs. It is important to recognize these. And to do something about it. You want to catch it early. Because it is important to take action.

How to fix this problem?

It requires joint commitment from management and employees. It is important to promote open and transparent communication. A climate of trust and cooperation should be created. Conflicts are combated, workload is reduced and a positive working environment is created. Training or awareness-raising measures can help with this. So that you can recognize the many signs. And change something. For the employees and the company. 

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