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Horrible Bosses: How Poor Leadership Can Create a Toxic Work Environment

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When you think of safety hazards on the jobsite as a supervisor, manager, or employer, what comes to mind? Chemical hazards? Scaffolding inspections? OSHA standards?

If those came to mind, that’s good! You’re on the ball in terms of safety procedures. But you may be missing one key factor here that can affect everyone on the jobsite, and can carry over into their lives off the clock. It can affect their proficiency, health, and various other factors that have long term toxic effects in their lives.

What is it? Well…it can be you, the boss.

How Bad Management Effects A Workplace

Usually, the trope of a ‘bad boss’ is used in pop culture for laughs. But unlike bosses such as Michael Scott (The Office), the reality is that poor leadership and a toxic work environment can be just as detrimental to an employee’s overall health as physical illness or injury.

Such toxic environments can lead to lack of enthusiasm, low productivity, stress, sleep deprivation, deliberate errors in assignments, aggression, absenteeism and eventual lack of respect for authority.

Now think of a jobsite. You and your crew handles hazardous chemicals and mechanical equipment. Constant clear communication and peak proficiency is mandatory. With people’s lives on the line…you don’t have time for a toxic workplace.

More importantly, HR and OSHA does not have time for that. Stress over an extended period of time, for example, can lead to a weakened immune system and “burnout” which is a physical or mental collapse due to stress or overworking.

This may seem trivial, but occurrences like high turnover and unprofessional behavior? They are the top contenders for a bad workplace, especially in construction.

Your Responsibility To Uphold A Safe Workplace

Remember, if you are the boss, be it a supervisor, contractor or employer, your employees are your responsibility beyond physical health. Even as a competent person, if you witness behavior that can risk burnout or someone’s health mentally, use the authority you do have to mitigate it the best that you can.

And if you’re not the boss, have a good working relationship with your managers and co-workers. It can bring everyone to a heathy working state of mind. Always communicate your concerns or criticism of someone’s work ethic or management tactics with respect at the forefront. And be clear and concise about why you’re addressing them.

Also, you should know the procedures for filing a complaint at your company and report any violations, shortcuts, or signs of bad working behavior regardless of the position the offender has.

Negative energy can be contagious; it’s best to enforce a positive workplace to achieve the primary goal of having a safe and productive work day.