For anyone who has been in a toxic workplace or worked for a toxic boss, you know there are days when you want to just up and quit. But would you quit in desperation, before even having another job lined up? And if so, what in the world would drive you to such a radical move?
A study completed July 25th by joblist.com has the surprising answers.
First, a whopping 35 percent of those surveyed in the study said they quit their job before having another one secured. That speaks to the state of toxicity in the working world today.
Of course, it begs the question, why? I'll share the top five reasons as cited in the study and add analysis. But first--no job is worth staying in a moment longer if it's seriously affecting your health and happiness. Yes, because life is too short but also because it can negatively impact your overall outlook and optimism, which in turn can show up in future interviews in unhelpful ways.
These are the five factors that make people pack up and storm out of their office Jerry Maguire style.
1. Managers didn't resolve issues reported (48.1 percent).
People need to be heard. Especially on real issues they share and expect action to be taken on.
This doesn't have to be so difficult. My experience shows that people want to know they've been heard and their thoughts considered, even if not acted upon. Many times I followed up with an employee that was furious about an issue important to them, like a troublesome co-worker or a massive budget cut. I didn't always have the solution they craved, but I always took the time to let them know they were heard, what was being done about the situation, and was honest with them about why the solution they wanted wouldn't work (if that was the case).
2. Work culture wasn't a good fit (45.8 percent).
Either the culture wasn't as advertised before the person took the job (shameful), or the hiring managers did a poor job ensuring that the well-known culture matched up with the job candidate they hired.
The mutual solve is for leaders to create a foundational culture that feels more like a community than a corporation--the kind of culture anyone could fit into. You do that by fostering three elements in particular: caring, teamwork, and authenticity. Anyone would want to be a part of this and any job candidate could smell a mile away if the company didn't live up to it.
3. Poor managers (43.9 percent).
Gallup's new book It's the Manager shows that the quality of managers is the single biggest factor in an organization's long-term success. So then why do so many companies allow such a dreadful pool of leaders to keep ravaging employees?
If you're a manager of managers, it's time to rachet up accountability for leading, not leading people to drink. If you're an employee working for a bad boss, remember no single situation or person defines you, so stay true to yourself until you can no longer be yourself, then move on. If you have to stay, resist the temptation to label your bad boss further as uncaring, unintelligent etc., try to build small bridges, and be brave and share feedback in a genuine attempt to help him/her improve.
4. Toxic environment (39.6 percent).
Signs of an overall toxic environment include no one feeling comfortable speaking their mind to management, only those with a certain style (not yours) get promoted and that tends to include those demonstrating shameless, self-promoting behaviors, and taking risks is encouraged but punished in reality.
These factors often show up as "unwritten rules"--nobody calls it out, it's just the way it is. Therein lies the single biggest problem with toxic environments, when leaders let the issues go unaddressed (see point number 1).
Leaders, care enough to find out what's toxic about your workplace and don't leave it for someone else to fix. Employees, be brave to raise the issues as best you can, offering to be a part of the solution--up to a point.
5. Felt underappreciated (36 percent).
This is the easiest of the five to fix, because it just requires that leaders care. Be frequent with giving praise (but not frivolous), being certain to praise results (not just activity) against goals that have been clearly touted as important. Personalize the praise and give an effort to make it come from the heart. If it comes from the heart it sticks in the mind.
If you're thinking of storming out of your office tomorrow, at least know you're in good company. If you want to foster a good company, enable the opposite of this article.