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At one point or another, you’ve probably found yourself working in an environment that’s less than pleasant. Whether it’s a micro-managing manager or coworker who loves to stir up gossip, your workplace can quickly go from ideal to toxic. Unfortunately, many factors that affect your work environment are completely out of your control.

Instinctively, you may try to form an escape plan if you find yourself in a hostile place. But sometimes, leaving your job isn’t always the best option.

As marketing recruiters, we know your work environment is a critical component of how successful you are in your job and ultimately the long-term growth of your career. If you discover that you’re in difficult work environment, there are a few steps you can take to cope with it and take full control of a less than ideal situation.

Related Video: 5 Signs of a Bad Work Environment – Interview Red Flags

Video by Linda Raynier

Marketing Recruiters Cover How to Avoid Drowning in a Toxic Workplace

1. Identify the Real Problem

As marketing recruiters who have extensive experience working with candidates and maintaining relationships with them after the hiring process is complete, we’ve encountered many who leave their jobs due to a hostile workplace just to find themselves in the same situation at a new company. This makes us question if it’s the organization or the employee to blame for an unpleasant environment.

Before blaming a colleague or manager for your issues at work, thoroughly evaluate the rationale behind your dissatisfaction. As a marketer, you should be able to logically think through your problems to get to the core of your issues.

Take a step back and approach it differently. Looking at your situation from another perspective allows you to realize that you may possess certain personal traits that foster a negative mindset and toxic environment everywhere you work.

The first step in improving a toxic work environment is being self-aware. It could indeed be a colleague that’s the root of the problem or a combination of both, internal and external circumstances that contribute to a challenging workplace. However, you want to be confident and certain of what’s causing the issue, before you point the finger.

2. Make It a Good Day

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Whether you’re in a toxic environment or not, a negative mindset can tamper even the most pleasant workplaces.

Don’t set yourself up for a bad day by going into work with a sour attitude. External factors that are out of your control can create an undesirable atmosphere but a negative mindset will only make your experience at work worse.

It’s difficult to avoid constant negativity in a space where it’s become part of the culture. However, your energy and attitude will directly project through your work and interactions with your team. And the last thing you want is your colleagues or boss to find you unpleasant to work with. Make the most of your day by staying positive, being productive, and focusing on what really matters.

3. Establish a Healthy Work-Life Balance

As a marketing recruitment agency, we know a lot is expected of today’s marketers and we understand how stressful work can be on the overall quality of life.

Managing a satisfying personal life is important in helping you cope with issues you may have in your professional one. While it’s hard to separate challenges at work from your personal life, it’s important to find that sweet spot and healthy balance between the two.

Maintaining a good work-life balance is key in improving the quality of your life, especially when you feel like you’re caught in a negative environment. Your personal life affects your productivity and performance at work; ultimately, a happier you makes a better employee.

4. Have a Mind of Your Own

When surrounded by colleagues and external forces, it’s easy to get influenced by opinions that aren’t your own.

The issues that surface and contribute to a negative workplace are commonly created by personal complaints that essentially have nothing to do with the actual company at hand. These negative opinions can bleed through to your own perspectives and weigh down on your attitude at work.

Avoid feeding into negativity by maintaining a strong head on your shoulders and formulating your own opinions. If you’re entering a new company, make sure to engage with positive people. Don’t be so quick to judge based on others’ opinions in the beginning – give it time to establish your own understanding from your personal experience with the culture and company.

5. Take Charge and Become Proactive

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While there are many things you can’t control in your workplace, there are indeed many ways you can proactively take charge of. In every task you’re assigned with or every conversation you engage in, become the most effective employee by being proactive in action and communication.

Don’t cripple relationships with colleagues by not communicating enough. If you are struggling to meet a goal and feel that you don’t have enough resources for it, reach out to your boss to address the issue. By approaching any struggles you have proactively, you can take charge in improving your performance and credibility as a top marketer.

To be a valuable employee, you should be committed to your role and what’s expected of you. Establish yourself as a top performer so your work ethic and performance isn’t questioned. Set yourself up for success and demonstrate the value you add to the organization by committing to go above and beyond your duties.

6. Take a Walk

Being in the office all day is tough, and a toxic atmosphere only adds to the stress. As marketing recruiters, we often see that even the most strategic marketing consultants don’t take the time out to take a break during the workday.

Humans require downtime and a mental break throughout a stressful day, even if it’s only for a few minutes. You have a lunch break for a reason, so take advantage of it. Something as simple as taking a walk outside or doing a lap around the building can help relieve stress and tension.

You’ll come to realize the value of small daily breaks, especially if you’re in a challenging environment. The last thing you want to do is burn yourself out.

7. Reward Yourself (And Others) over Small Wins

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Instead of focusing on and exhausting yourself over the big win, learn to celebrate the small ones as well. Treat yourself to personal accomplishments – every milestone is a step closer to getting the big win and should be acknowledged.

Treating everyone with respect and how you’d want to be treated is the first step in building a positive environment at work. Acknowledge both your accomplishments and your peers’ as well, no matter how minor they may seem. You and your colleagues work as a team with a shared set of common goals so it’s important to support their achievements. By congratulating them on a job well done, this boosts their morale and establishes a sense of unity and mutual support.

Recognizing yourself and your teams’ victories spews positivity and diffuses hostility in the workplace. This fosters a supportive, collaborative and motivating environment – something that’s necessary in every workplace.

Closing Words

If you find that you’re struggling to adapt to a new work environment or dealing with problems at work, marketing recruiters suggest proactively working to improve your situation before planning your great escape.

By taking charge and addressing issues head-on, you avoid allowing challenges and external factors to discourage you from being an excellent employee. By taking full control of your career and every new role you enter, you will clearly see your career progress in the direction you want.