I am Dr. Hassan, a Board-Certified Physiatrist and Independent Practice Owner. I help physiatrists start and grow their own profitable practices so they can achieve financial independence and live without limits.
You would think having an upbeat and cheerful attitude at work would be good. After all, happy people make for better workers. Right?
Not always. In fact, forcing someone to wear a happy face when they’re not feeling it can be quite detrimental. This is toxic positivity, and what it does is it creates an atmosphere where you feel as though your feelings don’t matter. You don’t feel it’s safe to be yourself or express your thoughts or feelings. You don’t feel valued.
How can you tell when you’re in a work situation where toxic positivity has become the status quo?
Everything is Always Going Great
There’s no such thing as a company where everything is perfect. Anytime you’re being fed this kind of line, things are going on, probably impacting the business negatively. Denying challenges even occurring is designed to keep workers from bringing up problems and making it feel as if it’s the employees who are to blame if something doesn’t go right.
Complaints Are Not Handled Appropriately
Have you ever been told the problems are all in your head? If concerns are ignored and instead put down to someone ‘having a bad day’ or as being ‘negative,’ you’re experiencing toxic positivity. This kind of brush-off creates an unsafe atmosphere where employees feel they can’t speak up when needed.
If you’ve ever been told the employees elsewhere ‘have it worse,’ you’re the victim of toxic positivity. It makes no difference how the corporate culture is in other companies. This kind of statement is designed to put down what might be very valid concerns with where you are, again creating an unsafe environment to work in.
Compliments Used a Manipulation
Toxic positivity can feel like flattery when done right. Think about times when you were told you were ‘so good at’ something with the added implication you could easily handle extra work or to be able to manage something without support. This toxicity is designed to make you feel like you’re being noticed for doing things right when it’s just an excuse to pile on added responsibility with little to no reward for your trouble.
Toxic positivity in the workplace can be difficult to overcome, but not impossible. Your best recourse? Showing compassion to those around you by validating their feelings is a great way to begin. Communicating when things feel toxic in a gentle way helps educate others who might be well-meaning but unaware of how their actions might be perceived. By starting with how you personally react to toxic positivity, you help set a new tone in the workplace, creating a safer and more stable environment in which to work.
Once you’ve decided that you want to leave your current job to start your practice, you need an exit plan. Check out our blog post here for tips on developing an exit plan and starting your new independent practice.
I’m Dr. Hassan, a Board-Certified Physiatrist and Independent Practice Owner. I help physiatrists start and grow their own profitable practices so they can achieve financial independence and live without limits. Please go to businessofrehab.com/contractnegotiations to pick up the free guide to help you negotiate the contract of your dreams.
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