Are you working in a toxic culture?

Toxic work culture ALERT. When we work with our career coaching clients we ask them to rank the values important to them in their career and if they are being met in their current job. It’s not unusual for a client to tell us that they really love the content of their work….but the negative or toxic culture of their workplace is their reason for wanting to leave.

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They tell us “If i could just do the same job but SOMEWHERE ELSE…and we regularly hear anecdotes and horror stories depicting that toxic culture in action. This is why we were really interested in the recent research on “Why Every Leader Needs to Worry About Toxic Culture”, published in MIT Sloan Management Review in March 2022.

While we knew it was a big factor in why people wanted to leave their jobs we were surprised to learn that a toxic culture was TEN TIMES more likely to lead to people quitting their jobs than being unhappy with their financial compensation. Money talks, but toxic culture shouts it from the rooftops it appears.

The article lists the 5 cultural attributes that lead to a toxic workplace culture – the authors label them the “Toxic 5”. If you are currently in a job where the negative culture is making you miserable, you will definitely identify with some, if not all of these workplace attributes.


What a list! If you are thinking of quitting to escape a toxic work culture you are not alone. The article points out that 1 in 5 employees have left a job at some point in their career because of its toxic culture. This is not only a huge personal, emotional and health cost to the employee, but also a significant financial and reputational cost to the employer.

We recently wrote an article (link here) advising about whether you should to quit your job even if you don’t have another one lined up. We mentioned that there is one scenario when the answer is a resounding YES. This is when the environment and culture of the organisation is so toxic it is affecting your mental and physical health. It doesn’t need to be that way. Start planning your exit.

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