4 Ways to Navigate a Toxic Work Environment

  • By Liz Briggson
  • November 5th, 2021

Do you find your current work environment is causing you stress or anxiety? Distinguishing the root cause of the stress can be difficult. While a quick look in the mirror can help us determine if we are part of the issue, workplace stress often manifests from external forces and relates to the behaviors of toxic leaders. You are not alone if you find yourself in a negative work environment. Don't despair! You have more options to cope than you may realize. 

Nancy Wu, Head of Sales and Customer Success for SkyStem, recently led a webinar on the topic of toxicity in the workplace, and let me tell you, the stories the audience shared were unbelievable. We heard about a controller stuck in the middle of a legal dispute between partners who won't speak to one another, an internal audit manager whose senior management became irate at the thought of holding junior team members accountable, and bosses who couldn't even be bothered to pause a meeting for a bio break.

Recognizing dysfunction is the first step toward overcoming challenging work environments. We looked at four profiles of negative leaders who tend to spoil work. Here they are lined up with suggested short-term* coping strategies: 

  1. The Controlling Executive: You can cope by recognizing and managing their insecurity appropriately.
  2. The Conflict-Avoiding Exec: Plan conversations to infuse a cooperative tone and push for action.
  3. The Narcissist Executive: First, protect yourself by tending to your own self-esteem. Next, refrain from gossiping as this will only make matters worse.
  4. The Legacy Executive: Be inclusive and ask for mentorship.

*We call these strategies short-term because rarely are toxic work environments sustainable in the long-term. These strategies can be helpful while you are making the most of a tough situation and looking ahead to what's next.

For a deeper dive into these profiles and coping strategies, listen in to the webinar recording available here: Vimeo We invite you to join the conversation on LinkedIn. Here's a sample of the feedback we received, "I never realized that my experiences have a classification and a strategy to deal with the Toxic Situations. I am feeling better just knowing that it is a subject for which there are actually resources available."

If building productive, healthy teams is up your alley, you won't want to miss SkyStem's next webinar led by Nancy Wu: Building a Next-Gen Finance Team (With Your Current Staff!) Visit SkyStem's events page to register: https://encoursa.com/companies/skystem

About SkyStem
Headquartered in the heart of New York City, SkyStem delivers a powerful month-end close solution for organizations seeking to streamline their financial processes. The company’s flagship solution, ART, is an enterprise technology that helps CFOs and Controllers shorten the month-end close and the time to issue financials by automating balance sheet reconciliations, managing month-end tasks, performing flux / P&L variance analysis and providing insightful reporting. The web-based solution streamlines and eliminates up to 90% of manual activities while strengthening internal controls and corporate governance.

Visit https://skystem.com/ to learn more. 


  • Workplace
About the author
Liz Briggson
Liz Briggson

Liz is a licensed CPA in the state of Michigan and a member of the Encoursa team. Liz also provides business valuation consulting services and is actively involved in the Grand Rapids, MI business community through the Association for Corporate Growth.

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