What I Think About Toxic Workplace Culture

It should change.

5 min readJun 1


Photo by jurien huggins on Unsplash

Workplace culture is a phenomenon that has been much written and discussed. Everyone seems to agree that it is very important.

But it is also often said, based on several pieces of research, that it takes years to change a culture. In my opinion and experience too many use that as an excuse not to put enough thought or work into it, how they really want their workplace culture to be. And do not approach it in any systematic way, to change or shape it.

  • In some workplaces, the workplace culture is good and healthy and really helps to drive success and prosperity, both for the organization and the workforce.
  • In some workplaces, the workplace culture is fine, but not necessarily add much and not really supporting success and prosperity.
  • In some workplaces, the workplace culture is toxic, it is simply blocking success and prosperity, both for the workplace and the individuals who work there.

But then every workplace also has a different culture between departments and teams.

In a workplace I once worked with, there was a team that comprised very qualified individuals, but part of the team showed toxic behavior.

This toxic behavior had the effect that no one spoke in meetings except those individuals that were showing the toxic behavior. No one dared to protest them or criticize anything they said and did. They were very diligent in criticizing — or rather tearing down — everything that managers said and did, co-workers, workplace policies, and so on.

The team did well, but not everyone on the team felt good at work. The managers felt it was possible to get more out of certain individuals in the team if they could just avoid the toxic behavior of the toxic team members. Then they could let their light shine, to show everything they were capable of.

It took a while for the managers to address this, not least because the people who were showing toxic behavior were very smart and good in their field of expertise and doing very well on projects.

But then I found an online study that helped us understand better what toxic behavior and toxic workplace culture really does, and how…




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