5 Signs Your Organization Is Toxic

By Fatubaro Temitope Human Resources Generalist/Leadership Coach

5 Signs Your Organization Is Toxic

Every organization has an atmosphere which I chose to term as Intra-sphere. It is the pervading climate of an organization- How people feel in the organization. This is created by the culture of the organization. It ends up being the way the organization is perceived by employees and clients.

An organization’s intra-sphere can either be good or toxic. A good intra-sphere is what we all desire to have in our organization but sometimes, leaders often encourage the exact opposite of what they truly desire.

The following are signs that tells that your organization needs urgent attention. Signs that you have a toxic intra-sphere.


Every employee should feel at home at their place of work. That sense of belonging is vital to getting the best from them. Feeling entitled, on the other hand, is a different kettle of fish. Feeling entitled is a sign that something is wrong with the organization.

When employees feel they are justified for breaching organizational rules. When they feel the organization owes them. These are signs of entitlement.

This entitlement mentality is created when companies fail to fulfil their obligations such as 100% and timely payment of salaries, owing employees’ salaries and allowances, lack or inadequate tools to carry out duties. When employees remain in such organization, they often develop this mindset, and this eventually create a toxic workplace.

To prevent this type of environment, leaders of organizations must ensure they fulfil their contractual obligations to their employees at all costs. It is a cost saving endeavour in the end.


The rate at which employees leave an organization and are replaced by new ones is termed turnover.

If the number of people who stay in a calendar year or a period is more than those who left, such an organization has a low turnover. While, if the number of those who leave is more than those who stayed, there is a high turnover. If you struggle to retain personnel as an organization, it is a sign that people don’t see your organization as a good place to work. It is a sign that your organization is either toxic or becoming toxic.

Insensitive leadership, poor remuneration, lack of growth or growth prospect, poor welfare etc. are some of the reasons responsible for a high turnover.

To prevent or stop this, conscious efforts must be made to find the reasons for the high turnover and deliberate actions must be taken to address them. Turnover reasons could vary from organization to organization. Hence, the need to do intra-findings.

Turnover rate= no. of terminates or resignation during period

No. of employees at beginning of period


The activity aimed at establishing superiority over others is competition. It is good if it is healthy but how many competitions has been healthy. It is always at the expense of another group or persons. When members of the same organization or department are competing with themselves:

  • information will be seen as an advantage and won’t be shared.
  • Colleagues/teammates perceive one another as threats instead of allies. This hinders cooperation.

This competitive intra-sphere can be quelled by encouraging teamwork and rewarding team performance instead of individual performance.


An unpleasant emotion caused by the threat of harm. When employees feel this emotion whenever they think of resuming to work, you have a highly toxic intra-sphere in your organization. According to research, an average employee spends one-third of their life at work, and it is vital to spend such an amount of time of one’s life in a good environment. As if the pressure to perform isn’t enough, why should one be subjected to additional stress due to fear.

Unrealistic demands and targets, overbearing bosses and supervisors, unsafe facilities and environment, verbal abuse, discriminatory tendencies, and much more are contributory factors to this menace.

Promoting a culture of respect and setting realistic goals/targets for employees are some of the approaches to reversing this toxic trait.


Exchanging of information by speaking, writing or other medium is vital to the survival and success of any organization, big or small. You can gauge the type of intra-sphere that exists in an organization by how easily or otherwise information flows.

If information is hoarded and used as a weapon to gain advantage over other, you know you have a toxic case on your hands.

Hoarding of information by anyone regardless of position or rank will hurt the organization in the end.

  • It will delay the making of needed decisions,
  • It will lead to making wrong decisions.
  • It will slow down production processes.
  • It will lead to waste of time and resources.
  • It will lead to frustration of employees.
  • It will breed rumours and gossips.

To prevent this from happening, employees must be encouraged to share information freely. They must be made to see the adverse effect of hoarding information. Occasionally, some will share vital information under the guise of anonymity. Such must be respected and protected.

The success of any enterprise is largely dependent on the type of internal atmosphere(intra-sphere) they have. If it is good, such an enterprise has a good chance of succeeding, but if otherwise, it is only a matter of time before it dies.

Your organizational intra-sphere is as vital as oxygen to the lungs or blood to the heart.

To your success!!



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