How To Recognize A Toxic Workplace

Many people online want to know how to recognize a toxic workplace before applying for a job there. Or they want to know if the organization they are currently working for is a toxic workplace. Here is how to recognize a toxic workplace with toxic leaderhip.

Toxic Workplace

Toxic Culture::

  • Fear-based: Employees are sacred of their boss and scared to give their opinions.
  • Uncollaborative: Employees are in a rat race, locked up in a golden cage. Continuously competing against each other.
  • High-pressure: Workloads are unrealistic, and deadlines are constantly looming.
  • Gossip-driven: Rumors and misinformaton is spread quickly behind people’s backs.


  • Boss-Centric: Everyone works for the boss instead of for external customers.
  • Hierarchical: Power is concentrated at the top, and decision-making is extremely slow.
  • Micromanaging: Little autonomy or trust is given to employees.
  • Lack of transparency: Employees are not informed about important decisions and the trategy of the company.
  • Hybrid working and working at home: Hybrid working and working at home is stricly regulated and monitored.
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Core Goals & Values:

  • Short-term profits at all costs: Employee well-being and long-term sustainability are sacrificed.
  • Values are performative: They are listed on the website but not reflected in daily practice.
  • Focus on individual accomplishment over teamwork: Collaboration is discouraged and prevented in practice.

People & Skills:

  • Toxic Leadership: Toxic leaders are authoritarian, they are bullies, blame-oriented, and lack emotional intelligence.
  • Employees: Scared, burned out, disengaged, and looking for new opportunities.
  • Skills: Focus on technical skills over communication, collaboration, teamwork andproblem-solving.

Business Processes:

  • Cost Reduction: Focus is on cost-reduction in inside-out business processes.
  • Inefficient: Redundant tasks and poor communication lead to wasted time and resources.
  • Siloed: People in departments don’t work together effectively, leading to duplication of effort.
  • Reactive: There’s a lack of external alignment, integrated planning and a firefighting mentality.

Business Strategy:

  • Industry Think: Continued search for an “attractive industry”. Wanting to “beat the competition”, fighting for the biggest market share instead of focusing on digital blue oceans.
  • Short-sighted: Focuses on quick financial wins rather than long-term health & sustainability.
  • Little innovation: Resistance to new ideas and a fear of taking risks, of losing control.
  • Unclear direction: Employees are unsure of the company’s and leaders goals and priorities.


  • Accountability Systems: Focus on punishing mistakes rather than learning from them.
  • Data/Information Systems: Outdated or poorly integrated legacy infrastructure, hindering fast decision-making.
  • Feedback Systems: One-way communication; little opportunity for employees to provide feedback.
  • Recognition Systems: Rewards are based on individual performance, not teamwork.
  • Learning & Development: Minimal investment in employee training and development, focusing on traditional diploma’s and certificates of traditonal business schools and universities and other institutions of higher education. Focusing on up-skilling and re-skiling inclduing in AI in the interest of the company. And not in the interest of the individual employee.
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Reach out

Do you want to avoid working in a toxic workplace or survive a toxic leader that is making your life a hell at work? Or do you want to learn the right soft- and hard skills to survive the Great AI-layoff and benefit from the democratization of AI and thrive in the AI-powered economy? Leaving The Corporate Rat Race for instance? Then contact us today for a free video consultation. Email your mobile number and the link to the website of your company or on LinkedIn using this form. Then we immediately will contact you to make an appointment for that intake interview.

Kind regards,
Tony de Bree

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