How To Identify Workplace Hostility

Last month, we discussed an alternate way to look at not-so-violent workplace violence, something that is far more subtle and pervasive than many of us think. This month let’s review some signs and symptoms that we don’t normally associate with workplace violence.

Use this list of questions to consider whether or not you may be experiencing workplace violence and/or whether or not it exists in your place of employment:

Inconsistent Criticism: Is the criticism often disproportionate to your actual performance? Do you feel you’re on a never-ending wheel of more and more demands and/or fewer and fewer pauses to acknowledge milestones? Are the expectations for your achievement frequently shifting? Do you feel excessive micromanagement? Or any micromanagement stems from an inherent lack of trust?

Social Isolation: Do your colleagues overtly exclude you from team activities, meetings, or social gatherings? Do you feel that there are alliances (cliques) that attempt to intimidate others and/or prescribe social norms of your workplaces’ rules of engagement? Is there a seniority hierarchy in which years of service/tenure are overly privileged in terms of social and institutional capital?

Subtle Sabotage: Are you not given enough tools and resources to proficiently perform the competencies required for your role? Have you had adequate training? Is the workload unreasonable? Are you put in situations in which you’re tasked with problems that you have no organizational authority to fix?

Gaslighting: Do you have colleagues that manipulate your perception of reality?  Make you doubt your own experiences? Minimize your feelings with phrases like, “Oh, he was only kidding?”  “It’s not such a big deal?” “You think about things too much?”

Discrimination: Do you feel stress expressing your authentic self with regards to your race, gender, sexual orientation, gender expression, religion, neurodiversity/divergency, etc.?

Emotional and Psychological Unease: Do you experience stress, anxiety, depression, or other negative emotional and psychological effects when you’re at work—or even thinking about work.

We may not always consider that feelings of isolation and hypercriticism could be signs of a toxic work environment. If you answered, “Yes, I have had that experience!” to any of the above questions, you may indeed be experiencing a hostile workplace. As a leader, you may also see how you have unintentionally facilitated these feelings in your team. There is a solution. Leadership training is one way. Consider attending one of my leadership skills classes available here at Cannabis Trainers. I look forward to seeing you there! 

Guest Blog by John Mancuso

Authentic Communication Matters

Learn more about John’s next supervisor skills course, Rockin’ Your Supervisory Role.


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