4 important signs you’re in a toxic work environment

Our work environment affects our happiness, productivity, and success. Through my experiences and discussions with colleagues, I understand how different workplaces can affect you positively and negatively.

If you’ve been contemplating whether your work environment is the right place for you, here are some key points that could help you: 

 

1. Low Employee Retention

If you realize most of the employees at a new workplace are new, this can affect how you fit in. Sometimes, for certain start-up environments, the case of low employee retention is prevalent.

The structure in a start-up environment is different. So before you make the decision to join an organization where most of the employees are new, you have to consider what your main goals are and what you hope to achieve at the company.

It’s best for you to take this into consideration before you make a decision. You should be prepared for how you can fit into the role and the organization.

At one of my former jobs, I noticed that a lot of employees were new. I remember a co-worker told me there was a “revolving door” at the organization. As the months rolled by, I understood why.

There was a lot of negativity in the office. After various discussions with my colleagues, I found out that most like myself were unhappy and also seeking other jobs. I eventually left that negative work environment. 

 

If you’re about to take a new job, I suggest you ask (in a subtle way of course) how long the former person held the role you’re about to take. Another option would be to ask generally the amount of time their employees stay with the company.

2. Lack of free speech/ expression of ideas  

One of my favourite work environments was an internship I had back in university. I was an editorial intern for the school magazine.

What I enjoyed most about the internship was my experience with my boss. She created a very open environment where I was encouraged to present my ideas and actively participate. Having an encouraing supervisor who supported my progress enabled me to accomplish quite a lot in that job.

Now, I’ve also been privy to work environments with a rigid structure, where you don’t feel open to discuss your ideas, and your superiors show no interest in your growth or progress.

Though one can still thrive in such an environment, I don’t necessarily believe it helps you be very productive. You may not feel content in your workplace because there’s no good rapport with your colleagues.

One way to fix such issues would be speaking up. You will have to make an effort to express your ideas and opinion. This matters because unless somethings are communicated, not everyone will pick up on whether there is a problem or issue to be addressed. Communication is key in contributing to a positive work environment.

Communication is key in contributing towards a positive work environment Click To Tweet

3. Constant Tension in the Office

In any workplace, there are going to be high-pressure days and low-pressure days. Pressure in the workplace is normal because different situations arise and demands have to be met. However, if you’re in a work environment with constant tension among co-workers, that is definitely not a good sign.

If there is consistent tension in your workplace, it would be best to bring it up to your supervisor or take it to the Human Resources department.

The HR department often addresses the communication issues between the management and staff. They can advise you and your co-workers on how to resolve issues.

4. You Always Leave Work Feeling Emotionally Drained

Yes, work is just a part of our lives and adulting really isn’t a vibe sometimes, but if you always feel terribly sad, drained, or anxious at the thought of going to work – that’s even less of a vibe and a major issue.

This negative work environment can end up seeping into your personal life and take over your mind. If most days at work are causing you depression, you have to consider if that’s the right environment for you. Word of advice: get a new job sis, you can’t come and die just to meet KPIs. Start looking for a new place of work and do intense research on the environments those companies possess, I promise you when you leave and start afresh, you’ll be much happier.

Another option, if the specific work is the problem, communicate with your supervisor about a challenge you might be encountering. They could provide you with some resources to make things efficient. If the negative emotions are due to the people around, also be open to communicate that with a mentor or your HR department. They could best advise you on how to move forward.

Have you had experience with problems in the workplace? What were the signs, and how did you rectify such issues?


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6 Ways to Harness and Monetize your Many Passions

Asides the obvious fact that the recent economic downturn has forced several young people to have multiple sources of income, it is quite the norm these days to meet people who have a full-time job and are running small businesses on the side. They are also known as “side hustles”, and even full-fledged companies complete with all the bells and whistles. Sincerely, it is now a reality that a single income cannot sustain a comfortable lifestyle and this has pushed the average young Nigerian to get creative and take a dip in the entrepreneurship pool. Here are six ways to convert your many interests to money in the bank: Take on practices that will not only push you out of your comfort zone but also work on improving your weaknesses - @tolanithomas Click To Tweet

Leave your comfort zone

Starting and running a business is not for the fainthearted, it will constantly push you out of your comfort zone. For example, if you have a fear of speaking to strangers, you will have to overcome that when networking and marketing your services to potential customers. Take on practices that will not only push you out of your comfort zone but also work on improving your weaknesses. You don’t have to be an expert, just be comfortable enough to deliver value that people want and need.

You need more than passion

It’s great to be passionate about your business ideas, but don’t let your enthusiasm blind you from reality. Be honest with yourself! Ensure there is a market to tap into and you are ready to put in the work. Get honest feedback from people around you; even friends and family by offering your services to them. You have to be truly good at what you do. Your passion could be making people’s faces up, but are you skilled enough to train others? Also bear in mind that as a business owner, you’ll be responsible for reporting taxes, marketing your business and sorting out your finances. Are you ready for all the responsibility?

Offer Real Value

What void can you fill in the market? For example, if you are a makeup artist and there is no makeup studio around you, that could be a viable business opportunity. The goal is to take advantage of the gaps in the market, that way you stand out and enjoy greater returns before the copycats join you in that space. Ask yourself how you can make the industry better? Is this the business that keeps your entrepreneurial juices flowing? Let’s say your passion is making furniture. Why are you better than your competitors? Is it because your materials are sourced locally? Or your products are unique and one of a kind? That would be more appealing to customers as opposed to buying generic mass-produced furniture. When I started my consulting company, I had used several competitors. I knew what made them great, but I also knew what I wanted that they didn’t offer. I knew how to better the services. I started it and here we are! Six ways to convert your many interests to money in the bank: 1. Leave your comfort zone... Click To Tweet

Convert your Passion to Cash

There are several ways to make money off your passions:
  • Selling an actual product such as clothing, beauty products online or in a store.
  • Sharing your knowledge about your passion by blogging, writing books or making videos. Between sponsorships, subscribers and selling your own products, you can make a decent living. For example, Arese Ugwu turned her passion for financial literacy into a book – The Smart Money Woman – into a book that is being sold in several countries in Africa and the UK.
  • Offering consulting services by giving advice on anything from law to skincare.
  • Investing in an idea you are willing to financially support.
  • Creating a software or gadget that makes life easier for people. For example, if you were a makeup artist, you could create an app that helps people find the right makeup products for their skin tones.
  • Start an event around your passion, such as a regular meetup, seminar or a festival.

Make Fun a Priority

Maintaining your passion when starting a legitimate business can be difficult. Some people even forget exactly why they started a business in the first place. To prevent that from happening, always make fun and passion a priority. Your passion should reflect on your company policies, your passion should be communicated to your employees when you are hiring and they have to be equally passionate about your business as well. Don’t wait till you master the craft before you start your business. You can learn as you go - @tolanithomas ‏ Click To Tweet

Improve Your Skills

It would be great if you have a lot of experience, however, don’t be too hard on yourself, there’s always room for growth and learning. For example, a furniture maker may be great are creating unique tables, but not so good at creating sofas. You can learn as you go along your journey, don’t wait till you master the craft before you start your business. Malcolm Gladwell says it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert in any field. Nonetheless, don’t let the perceived amount of time it would take you to be the best at what you do deter you from moving ahead with your plan. It may not take you that long to master your craft, as you long as you keep looking for ways to improve your skills. Always ask for feedback and track your progress.
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Twitter Chat with Shade Ladipo: How consistent career development helped me become a better leader (Aug. 9)

In case you missed this Twitter chat, see the oh- so-good moments below!

Have you ever thought of starting a management company and growing it into a profitable business? Or becoming that Motherland Mogul in management with a six digit salary?

If you think it, act on it!

As young African women, you need to equip yourselves, plan for your future, and prepare to scale up that ladder of success, even when you’re starting from the bottom.

Join us on Wednesday, Aug. 9th for a Twitter chat with travel/media entrepreneur & the country director for WEConnect International  – Shade Ladipo, as she enlightens young African women interested in management, on how consistent career development has helped her grow and become a better leader.

Shade who founded a destination management company from nothing at age 25, believes that education and career development is the most important driving force for every aspiring Motherland Mogul.

Follow She Leads Africa on twitter and use the hashtag #SLAChats to ask your questions and participate in the discussion.

Topics that we’ll cover:

  • Why women in management need education and career development
  • Gender bias, feminism and gender roles in today’s society
  • 5 reasons why consistent career development is critical to leadership

Twitter chat details

  • Date:  Wednesday 9th August
  • Time: 12 pm NYC // 5 pm Lagos // 6 pm Joburg
  • Location: Follow She Leads Africa on twitter and use the hashtag #SLAChats

Here are some moments from the chat:

 

About Shade

Shade Ladipo is the Executive Director of WEConnect International  , a travel and media entrepreneur and a social activist.

At the age of 25, Shade founded Avienti Limited – a Destination Management company with three offices in Nigeria. She has also worked with the United Nations Volunteers Nigeria and several advertising agencies where she specialized in event management, account management, and client services and strategy.

Shade has been recognized by several platforms for her work as a change agent and businesswoman. She has been nominated for the Future Awards Africa Awards, chosen as 101 Young Achievers at the African Business Forum in Accra Ghana in 2008, and selected as a Goldman Sachs fellow.

Shade regularly appears on radio programs and at live events to talk about everything she is passionate about, including leading a successful business in Nigeria.