The telltale signs of a toxic workplace


Many of us get fooled, or even worse, create a story that toxic workplaces are associated only with the huge corporates. That’s nonsense, as toxicity has a way of pervading, permeating and penetrating small business just as easily.

Toxicity is so insidious we often forget that although we know it is harmful, at the same time so enticing for humans, as it can fool you into a sense of acceptance and belonging to the “in-crowd” and a feeling of power over others.

So, how do you get a sense when a workplace is toxic?

Here are five key observations I have made over thirty years of working in and helping organisations remove toxicity from the workplace.

1. A few take the credit for everyone’s success

You know those people who big-note themselves, get in the front row of the photo opportunity and continually remind anyone within earshot that they have singlehandedly won the biggest deal ever with their brilliance? They’re usually terribly insecure and the only way of overcoming this is to take the credit for the success of the broader group. This toxicity at it’s very best.

2. Control freaks rule

Petty power struggles are the order of the day and they happen at all levels of a toxic environment. Being in control of the key to the stationery cupboard to having the last say on what kind of biscuits you have in the kitchen are usually signs that you are surrounded by control freaks. They remind you in the pettiest ways they are higher up the pecking order than you.

3. Gossipers rule

Gossip, rumour and innuendo is the norm in a toxic workplace. You know that person that smiles to your face but scowls when you’re not looking. Every day there’s a new story about what someone did to someone else, what someone posted on social media or what someone got up to on the weekend. You can spot the gossipers who hang out in their little cliques so they can feel some kind of false security that they are “in the know”. The truth is that everyone is out for themselves, and there are no genuine friendships among them. One day you’re in the “in-crowd” and the next day you’re on your own.

4. People are outputs

In a toxic workplace, humans are treated like outputs. Stretch targets designed to squeeze every last drop of human effort ensure that the people are too tired to spend time in developing. Your hard work is never acknowledged with positive feedback and recognition of failures is frequent. After all, the narcissists don’t want the outputs to succeed them and threaten their self-entitled power base.

5. Employee attrition is excused as not fitting in

A toxic work environment has nothing good to offer except dysfunction, poor morale, sickness and eventually burnout. Management turns a blind eye to what becomes an epidemic as humans will start running for the door to find a better situation. Employee attrition is a very costly activity, but in toxic workplaces there’s always an excuse that those who leave just ‘didn’t fit the culture’.

What’s the answer here?

Fight the urge to gorge on the short-term sweetness and sugar rush you get from playing the toxic game. Over the long term, the bad taste it leaves in your mouth will not only negatively impact you but also others.

The answer is to remove the ingredients that poison the culture and replace them with healthy human options that make work a more palatable place to be.

Sugar fixes only last briefly – don’t be seduced by the sweet taste of toxicity.

Mark LeBusque, Founder and Director, The Human Manager





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Toxic Donald Trump’s attempted coup confirms everything his critics think about him – Brian Reade


Nothing becomes him more than the way he refuses to leave the stage.

By ignoring the will of the people he drags down a country he vowed to make great again to the level of a tin-pot dictatorship. His attempted coup confirming everything his critics ever thought about him.

That he is a self-worshipping, bullying, bleating, cheating, cretinous lout, consumed with a conviction held since he was a little rich boy that he has a divine right to win.

Actor Bryan Cranston branded him “a Shakespearean demagogue whose time on the world stage can only end in tragedy.” As the final act plays out, what did we learn?

That he chose to brutally disregard human life to seduce his redneck base. Pulling America out of the UN’s Human Rights Council because it “makes a mockery of human rights” in the same week 2,000 distraught children were forcibly separated from their parents at the Mexican border.

Then there are the recent rallies he held without masks or distancing.

That he was the genitalia-grabbing misogynist who humiliated female leaders such as Merkel and May while sucking up to hard-men like Putin. That he was a pathological liar who wore ignorance as a mark of genius.

That someone else always took the rap for his failings. The voters reject him? Blame fraud. Over 235,000 Americans dead due to coronavirus? Blame China. Black people murdered by racists? Blame both sides. Everything else? Fake news.




He vowed to drain the Washington swamp but turned it into a more toxic cesspool. He wanted Hillary Clinton jailed but faces criminal investigation when he leaves office into suspected bank, insurance and tax fraud.

He persuaded tens of millions of Americans to buy into his bigoted vision but they were never the “silent majority” he claimed. Twice he lost the popular vote by big margins and he’s only the fourth president in over a century to fail to win a second term.

As the votes now fail to stack up in his favour he is baiting Americans to sink their country into a bloody civil war.

The day after his inauguration I saw these words on a banner as I reported on the Women’s March in Washington: SUPER CALLOUS FRAGILE RACIST SEXIST LYING POTUS.

Four years later it is the perfect epitaph.





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KFL&A Public Health warning of ‘toxic’ drugs after increase in overdoses – Kingston


Kingston’s public health unit is warning residents that a “toxic batch of drugs” may be circulating in the Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington area.

This comes after a recent increase in overdoses locally. The public health unit says in some cases, these overdoses have been accompanied by “unusual reactions” to the drugs, like a rapid loss of consciousness, chest pain or stroke, seizures, involuntary movement, and high blood pressure.

Read more:
KFL&A Chief Medical Officer warns four deaths could be linked to cocaine lace with Fentanyl

“Substances being consumed may appear lime green in colour initially and become darker in colour during preparation,” KFL&A Public Health said in a news release.

The health unit is urging people who use drugs not to mix their substances, to test before using, and to never use alone.

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They are also asking users to be mindful of the risks during the COVID-19 pandemic, and to keep social distance or to connect virtually with someone who could call for help if needed.


Click to play video 'Study explores why COVID-19 pandemic led to increase in overdose deaths'







Study explores why COVID-19 pandemic led to increase in overdose deaths


Study explores why COVID-19 pandemic led to increase in overdose deaths

The area’s safe consumption site is now located at the Integrated Care Hub at Artillery Park, which is open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

The Rapid Access Addictions Medicine Clinic at Street Health Centre is open Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1 to 4 p.m. by appointment to provide individuals with support related to substance use.




© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.





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Berejiklian’s mistake strengthened NSW’s toxic swamp of self-interest


We thought Gladys Berejiklian was one of the good ones. But her personal decisions reinforced the entrenched NSW culture of sordid, self-interest deals.

(Images: AAP/Erik Anderson; AAP/Joel Carrett)

It’s sad that a politician as competent and hard-working as Gladys Berejiklian now finds herself forever tarnished by her association with spiv — and allegedly worse — Daryl Maguire. Berejiklian herself did nothing wrong and wouldn’t have gained anything by Maguire’s ever-more convoluted efforts to pay off his debts and land a big score. “Pie in the sky,” she called them.

But Berejiklian’s sin is not what she did, but what she tolerated and, to an extent, enabled: the toxic “Games of Mates” politics of NSW.

Games of Mates is the on-the-money term devised by Cameron Murray and Paul Frijters to describe how shonks and spivs — in the guise of property developers, miners, bankers and other business people — exploit political and bureaucratic connections to tilt the regulatory field in their favour.

Keep reading about the great NSW Game of Mates…

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The clothing range using fewer toxic processes



THRILLS have taken another step towards creating more sustainable fashion brand with their new unbleached range.

The Byron Bay brand has been taking further steps to ensure their commitment to sustainable clothing.

THRILLS Co-Owner and Designer Tabitha McGregor explained the project was a way of improving safety for customers and workers.

“The purpose behind Unbleached is to raise awareness about these toxic dying and bleaching processes, not just for our customers but for our team, too so we can make substantial decisions that preserve our planet,” she said.

“There is so much beauty in nature, especially the natural colours and textures, and if you look closely at the fabrics in this collection you’ll see the small flecks of the brown plant husk still attached to the raw fibres.”

THRILLS Design Manager Mike Fishwick explained the company’s pledge to a sustainable future isn’t an empty one, with Unbleached being one of their many tangible initiatives.

“Our fundamental goal is to be using all sustainable fabrics by 2022, and while we’re not perfect we’re doing everything we can to be more conscious and proactive in lessening our footprint and improving our day-to-day operations,” he said.

“While these decisions come at an extra cost, it’s an investment we’re willing to make due to the massive environmental and human advantages.”

THRILLS’ new ‘Unbleached’ collection will be available online at www.thrills.co from 3pm AEDT October 7 2020.





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Militants, White Helmets plotting provocations with use of toxic agents in Syria’s Idlib – Russian Politics & Diplomacy


MOSCOW, September 20. /TASS/. Militants from the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham terrorist group (one of the names of the extremist organization Jabhat al-Nusra, which is outlawed in Russia) are plotting provocations with the use of toxic agents in the south of the Idlib de-escalation zone in Syria, Alexander Grinkevich, deputy chief of the Russian Center for Reconciliation of the Opposing Parties in Syria, said on Sunday.

“The Russian Center for Reconciliation of the Opposing Parties has received information that militants of the Hayat Tahir al-Sham terrorist group are preparing provocation with the use of toxic agents in the southern part of the Idlib de-escalation zone,” he told a briefing.

He said that activists of the White Helmets organization are helping to prepare sites for provocations with the use of toxic agents. “According to information we have, activists of the pseudo-human rights organization White Helmets are taking part in preparing sites for plotted provocations and shooting fake videos,” he said.

According to Grinkevich, their plan is to simulate chemical attacks in the settlements of Eriha and Besames within days to place the blame for the use of chemical weapons against civilians on Syrian government forces.

The Russian reconciliation center said in July that militants had manufactured at least 15 explosive devices stuffed with an unidentified substance to stage provocations in Syrian settlements.

The Russian reconciliation center continues to fulfill assigned tasks after the completion of the military campaign in Syria. The center’s officers regularly travel around the country’s liberated areas to assess the humanitarian situation. The main efforts of the Russian military are now focused on assistance to the refugees returning to their homes and evacuation of civilians from de-escalation zones.



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TikTok video the latest failure to clean up a toxic internet


Stopping malicious online actors posting disturbing content is much harder than just shutting down a site.

(Image: AP/Matt Rourke)

There’s been a particularly horrific video doing the rounds on TikTok. But while schools and parents have been warned to keep vigilant, and Prime Minister Scott Morrison has demanded TikTok remove the video, there’s very little the government can actually do to get rid of it, despite new laws about restricting violent content online passed in the wake of the Christchurch shooting last year.

That’s because, according to a spokesperson for the eSafety Commissioner, the video, which depicts a suicide, does not fit within the law’s definition of violent and abhorrent material.

It’s another reminder that both regulators and tech companies are, for different reasons, utterly useless at cleaning up the internet. 





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Trent Barrett responds to ‘toxic’ Bulldogs claims


Trent Barrett has reaffirmed his commitment to the Bulldogs despite Phil Gould urging the former NSW playmaker to walk away from his deal because of the “toxic” mess engulfing the club.

Barrett will take over as Canterbury coach next season after signing a three-year contract that sees him replace Dean Pay, who was sacked earlier this year.

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The Bulldogs are last on the ladder and have as many problems off the field as they do on it. The Daily Telegraph reported on Monday an explosive civil war is threatening to tear the club apart, driven by in-fighting between leagues club boss George Coorey and football club chair Lynne Anderson.

There is reportedly also a fractured relationship between CEO Andrew Hill and general manager of football Steve Price.

However, Barrett told the Sydney Morning Herald he is determined to stay true to his word.

“(I am) One hundred per cent committed,” Barrett said. “Andrew Hill and the board have been nothing but supportive and very professional.

“I’m all in and looking forward to it.”

Barrett’s commitment comes after Gould warned him of what he is walking into, the rugby league guru arguing the last thing the inexperienced coach needs after his ugly split from Manly is another club with backroom drama.

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“I’m sure that Trent Barrett doesn’t know what he’s getting himself into and if I was associated with Trent Barrett in any way, shape or for­­­m I think I’d be advising him to reconsider his decision,” Gould told Nine’s 100% Footy.

“I just think this is going to deteriorate into a real mess in the coming weeks, and I just can’t see a way out.

“I think it’s just too much for him to take on at this time, given what happened to him at Manly, and given that his next NRL appointment is very, very important.

“He’s in a really good club at the moment at the Panthers, he’s got a great role and is doing a tremendous job.

“I’d be nearly inclined to decline it and go back to where he is and just wait a little bit more time because the Bulldogs is an absolute mess. Behind the scenes it is a toxic mess.”

Barrett will see out 2020 as an assistant coach at Penrith, where he has helped transform the Panthers’ attack and guide them to the top of the table.



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Highly toxic, but unreliable. ‘Meduza’ answers key questions about Novichok-type nerve agent poisoning




On September 2, German officials announced that prominent opposition figure Alexey Navalny had been poisoned in Russia with a substance from the Novichok group of nerve agents. Traces of the poison were found through tests conducted at a toxicology lab run by Germany’s armed forces (the Bundeswehr), at the request of doctors from the Charité Hospital in Berlin, where Navalny is being treated in intensive care. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said there are no doubts about the accuracy of the test results. “This is shocking information about the attempted murder by poison of one of Russia’s main oppositionists,” Merkel said. This announcement from the German government provoked a number of new questions about Navalny’s poisoning — “Meduza” answers some of the main ones.



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Ellen DeGeneres to address fans over toxic workplace allegations


Embattled talk show host Ellen DeGeneres says she will address her fans over allegations she has been leading a toxic workplace.

The 62-year-old was leaving a restaurant in California this week when she was questioned by paparazzi about how her show would look when it resumed filming next month without her top three producers, Ed Galvin, Kevin Leman and co-executive producer Jonathan Norman.

Last week, all three were sacked following a flood of claims by current and former employees about the negative work culture at the show.

I will be talking to my fans.

In the video, DeGeneres said “I will be talking to my fans”.

While she did not go into any more detail about how, where and when she would do so, there is the chance that she may address the allegations on her popular day-time talk show or in a public statement.

The accusations of the hostile work environment were first reported last month.

DeGeneres was accused of condoning a “toxic work environment” and several former employees said they had been fired for taking medical leave and attending funerals.

Others claimed raising complaints about offensive or racist comments meant they were called “PC police”.

Camera IconThe Ellen DeGeneres Show is set to begin filming its next season next month. Credit: Michael Rozman/Warner Bros.

She has since released two apologies to her staff, which were each leaked to the press.

In one she said she took “responsibility” as the program bore her name and said that changes would be made.

“I could not have the success I’ve had without all of your contributions. My name is on the show and everything we do and I take responsibility for that,” she reportedly said.

Yesterday Channel Nine — which airs The Ellen Show in Australia — confirmed the series had been pulled locally.

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Instead of airing repeats of the show each day, the network will now be airing re-runs of Desperate Housewives.

“We are resting Ellen repeats on Nine and have replaced (it) with Desperate Housewives,” a Nine spokesperson revealed.

It comes after TV Blackbox revealed the station was in talks over the renewal rights for the new season which begins next month but are yet to reach an agreement.

The latest season of the show — which has picked up 61 Daytime Emmy awards over the past 17 years — is set to begin filming next month in Los Angeles.



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