Clear Feedback Helps Minimize the Risk of a Toxic Work Environment
A toxic work environment refers to working somewhere in which there is a negative atmosphere.
That could be caused by coworkers, supervisors, managers, or even the company culture, or a combination of those.
Work environments that are toxic can be very challenging. Employees could live in fear that they will receive backlashes from their coworkers and supervisors, which would lead to bottled-up frustrations.
In turn, that could result in a lack of focus, a drop in productivity, and feelings of anger and unhappiness. That is the last thing an employee or a company should want.
A toxic workplace can affect people’s mental health. It could even affect their physical health. After all, stress has a habit of manifesting itself physically. And if the toxic workplace environment continues, employees’ mental and physical well-being can worsen over time.
One simple but effective way to minimize the risk of a toxic work environment is to ensure everyone in the company provides clear feedback.
When there is a high level of transparency, honesty, and strong communication, workplaces can become less toxic.
- 1. Strong Communication and Listening Skills Are at the Heart of Effective Feedback
- 2. How a Lack of Feedback Can Be Damaging
- 3. Providing Feedback in the Right Way Is Crucial for Creating a Healthy Work Environment
- 4. Be Willing to Receive Feedback in a Positive Manner
- 5. Anonymous Feedback Tools Can Also Be Helpful
- Final Thoughts
1. Strong Communication and Listening Skills Are at the Heart of Effective Feedback
For a business to be successful and thrive, there needs to be little friction between the workers.
Being able to openly express one’s feelings at the workplace should be welcomed, as long as it is done in a respectful, positive, and assertive manner.
Therefore, providing clear feedback can help to reduce the likelihood of a toxic workplace emerging.
Employees should be encouraged to provide honest feedback and managers and supervisors should also be able to give feedback without the employees taking it the wrong way.
If communication between two people in the workplace often involves one person doing all the talking and that person not listening to the other, frustrations will soon emerge.
In order for feedback to work in reducing a toxic workplace, effective two-way communication is imperative. In healthy work environments, whenever two people converse, one actively listens while the other one speaks.
If you feel that you are lacking in communication skills, check out this article about listening skills and this helpful post about how to improve those skills.
2. How a Lack of Feedback Can Be Damaging
Feedback needs to be given during performance reviews, evaluations, and renegotiations, in addition to day-to-day conversations between coworkers and between managers, and employees.
But when effective and open feedback is lacking, it can cause all manner of problems.
For instance, projects could fail to be delivered on time, workers could keep making the same mistakes, and employees could feel like they have no clear direction for completing tasks.
In turn, that can fuel feelings of unhappiness, frustration, and disrespect, all of which add up to a toxic work environment.
3. Providing Feedback in the Right Way Is Crucial for Creating a Healthy Work Environment
To create a healthy work environment and prevent a toxic workplace atmosphere from developing, everyone must carefully think about how they give feedback to others.
If someone gives feedback with the intent of proving a person wrong or putting that person down, it will foster a toxic environment.
The person who receives the feedback is likely to not listen properly, act defensively, and be apprehensive about receiving feedback in the future.
So, while providing clear feedback is a crucial aspect of reducing a toxic work environment, it is crucial that the feedback is given in the right way.
That means being respectful and having a caring attitude. When you provide feedback in a way that is helpful, the person receiving the feedback will take on board that feedback more positively. In turn, that will help to foster a healthy and productive work environment.
Clear feedback strengthens relationships between people at the workplace and contributes to a happier atmosphere.
Feedback should never be used to judge, criticize, or put someone down. Instead, it should be offered in a way that helps people.
4. Be Willing to Receive Feedback in a Positive Manner
People who give feedback at work need to do so in the right way. But it is just as important that workers know how to receive feedback in the right way, too.
Often, people can naturally feel as though they are being criticized when they receive negative feedback. So, it is important that you do not give in to base emotions and instead listen attentively to the feedback you are being given.
If you are defensive in your response, you will not be able to learn from the helpful feedback that is being given. Therefore, you will be contributing to an unhealthy work environment.
On the other hand, when you realize that the feedback you are being given is intended to help you develop and help the company prosper, it will have a positive effect on your work and on the work environment.
So, make an effort to be genuinely interested in the feedback being given and understand how it can be beneficial.
The more receptive you are to feedback, the more you can help minimize the risk of a toxic work environment. In turn, people will feel more at ease at giving feedback.
5. Anonymous Feedback Tools Can Also Be Helpful
Even though it is vital that employees, supervisors, and managers are able to give and receive feedback openly and face-to-face in order to create a healthy work environment, it is also important that your company uses an anonymous feedback tool in which workers can give and receive feedback anonymously.
Some employees will not feel as though they can be completely honest in their feedback if, for instance, they have gripes about company policies or a specific supervisor’s way of working. And they may fear that providing feedback will worsen the toxicity of the work environment.
So, while a company should nurture open and transparent feedback to minimize toxicity, there is nothing wrong with introducing an anonymous feedback process as well.
An anonymous feedback platform can include both positive and negative feedback and be directed at employees, supervisors, and managers.
It can take time to develop and engage in clear and constructive feedback at work.
But when you do, you can build trusting relationships, improve work processes, enhance productivity and employee happiness, and ultimately minimize or even eliminate toxicity in the work environment.