Did you know that Australia has the highest rate of incidences of bullying in the workplace in the world?



Studies from the Safe Work Australia show that nearly “42% of males reported being sworn or yelled at in the workplace; more than 20% of workers were humiliated in front of others; almost 20% experienced discomfort due to sexual humour; 6.9% of women experienced unwanted sexual advances; and 14.8% of women experienced unfair treatment due to gender”. (Safe Work Australia, Report on psychosocial safety climate and worker health in Australia)

At some stage in your career, you will most likely have endured working in a toxic workplace. Whether it is only for a day, a week or several years. In fact, unfortunately, working in these stressed-out dysfunctional environments has become the ‘norm’ in many corporate environments. It’s not easy to make a difference, to stand up for yourself or others to encourage a better more motivated and productive work environment. Being subjected to large doses of daily ridicule and negativity leads to extreme anxiety, irritability, stress, depression, and lack of sleep. It affects our relationship, and we feel dis-empowered, deflated and out of control. So, for some, the easiest thing would be to just to quit and walk right out the door! However, with jobs scarce and hard to get in this economy, for most people quitting your job is not a viable choice.

From experience, I can say I have witnessed various levels of toxic behaviour in the workplace over the years, and it can spread through an organisation like cancer. It is not only soul destroying, but it also affects employee’s productivity, personality and performance and it takes real courage and strength to rise against the tide of negativity to regain your self-esteem and confidence. So how should you combat these toxic influences?

The best option is to arm yourself with a healthy dose of positively! Empower yourself, because, despite everything, you do have a choice! When your energy is being compromised; you can cave to the pressure or rise to the challenge! Essentially, it’s up to you,and you will be amazed at the difference you can make not only to your attitude but also how influential you can become in helping others to cope and modify their behaviour.

Here are three simple ways to not only survive in a toxic workplace but also to empower yourself so that your actions will start to influence those people around you to improve the culture and environment. You will feel energised at the end of the day and less stressed and anxious. You will forge better relationships, be healthier, more positive, motivated, and be a calmer, happier person. And best of all you will become empowered!


“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”

Eleanor Roosevelt

  1. DON’T GET CAUGHT UP WITH NEGATIVE TALK: Distance yourself from the anger, resentment and negativity at work and make the conscious decision to be positive. You can’t change your personality or those of the people around you, but you can modify your behaviour and change your mind set. Communicating in a more positive and persuasive way to your work colleagues will help reprogram your behaviour as well as theirs and prevent you from getting caught up in the negativity of your environment and the people around you. Don’t engage with colleagues that expend a great deal of negative energy pulling people down, criticising or coercing you to ensure the failure of others. Your ability to learn to deal with these toxic attitudes both in thoughts and actions will enable you to regain your confidence and self-esteem.
  2. POSITIVE SELF-TALK: Positive self-talk is always one that we tend to forget about! And quite honestly it is THE most important aspect to your day as positive self-talk is crucial to your survival in a toxic workplace! It is the most powerful thing you can do in a situation like this. And it is the one thing that you have total control over as you always have the final say over the way you feel and what you think. So, put the shimmer back in your eyes and the bounce back into your step and think of all of the positive things you have to offer and SAY THEM TO YOURSELF every day! Your thoughts are energy and the best part is that you can think whatever you like! So choose empowering positive daily thoughts over negative self-deprecating ones as the choice is all yours! You can choose ones that make you feel good or ones that make you feel bad. Eleanor Roosevelt said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent,” and it is a brilliant philosophy to remember when you feel you are under fire.
  3. BECOME AN INFLUENCER: Now it’s time to expand on your new found positive thinking and try to spread this energy within your workplace. Start by surrounding yourself by the people at work with like energy and concentrate on nurturing these relationships. Being positive makes you a more attractive and confident person and you will find your work colleagues will be drawn into your energy and start to respond to you in a different more engaging way. A positive attitude is the key element required to transform perceptions, so in turn, over time you will also become more persuasive in the workplace. Remember, “What your say to yourself, you do. What your say to yourself you become. You have the power to shape the world around you by the words you say and the words you think”. (Quote from Rosemary Pekar’s book ‘Time to Kick But’)

“What you say to yourself, you do. What you say to yourself, you become.
You have the power to shape the world around you by the words you say
and the words you think”.

Rosemary Pekar