Hello,

Firstly, I would like to establish what FTO stands for which means From The Outside. This refers to the fact that I am a person who has never been an entrepreneur nor has been involved in any sort of business management. The fact that I want to post on these forums even as someone who has no experience in this world is because I want to give a view of someone who has seen it all from the outside as well as someone who has constantly spoken with and been around entrepreneurs and other management people. Please remember that this is just my opinions and views and I do not state any of this as fact, however my reasoning takes influence from studies and research that I have seen and I will include links to those at the end. I completely encourage any criticisms on this article no matter how harsh. This is also going to be simplified down to make it easier and quicker to read but if anyone wants me to go more in-depth you can message me.

Now that this has been pushed out the way letís get started.


Intro

As we all know, human resources is a necessary part of any business no matter the size and thus any problems with human resources effects all other departments. What this article will be going into is the potential problems, first symptoms, underlying impact and solutions/tips for this particular topic. This will mainly delve into the emotional side that is important in any organization.

Potential Problems

Most problems involving human resources range from discipline and recruitment to mental/emotional problems of employees. Mental/emotional problems stand out as the hardest and generally most time consuming to deal with. As a customer coming into a business, there have been several times where I have been exposed to the unstable emotional state of an employee there . They have either been visibly unmotivated (causing them to be lazy and quick to ask their other employees for help as soon as they are requested), irritable (often having a very uninviting expression or sometimes not even responding vocally), anxious (they are often fidgeting and when are asked for help they freeze up and either panic a little or proceed to direct you to another person). These are but a few examples that stem from the main problem of toxic emotions.

Underlying emotions refers to the hidden state of a person that they constantly hide or bottle up. Underlying emotions are not necessarily bad as people generally hide their emotions as to avoid interpersonal conflict and for other reasons. The problem is when they become toxic.

Now you may be asking: What can be considered a toxic emotion? When does an emotion become toxic? How does it come about? Why does an emotion become toxic? Which emotions are the most likely to become toxic? Where does this often happen?

What a toxic emotion is, is an emotion that is chronic and impacts on daily life to a point where it starts to sabotage it.

When an emotion becomes toxic is dependent from person to person. People have different thresholds from each other for when their emotions become toxic. Time is the main factor which perpetuates the problem.

How a toxic emotion comes about is dependent on many factors. Examples include a bad living environment, bad relationships with other co-workers, terrible customer interactions, monotony from work content, terrible daily travel and problems with personal relationships are just some of them.

Why an emotion becomes toxic is similar to how it becomes toxic. The various factors listed are often the culprits but the biggest factor here is the person themselves. Their personality and how they deal with issues can lead to an emotion becoming toxic.

Which emotions are most likely to become toxic are, once again, dependant on the person. The common emotions though are anger, anxiety, depression, jealousy, joy and eagerness.

Where does this often happen is dependent on the type of business with some common consistencies in departments. A short example would be people in admin who often suffer from depression due to the monotony of work.

You must remember that workers are humans, they are not robots, they have personalities and desires. Empathy, sympathy and acceptance is necessary in order to fix these issues and if you want to have an emotionally healthy working force and ultimately a profitable business.

First Symptoms

Symptoms can vary from easy to spot all the way to almost impossible to notice. Here is a list of attributes that you can look out for when trying to see the first symptoms of toxic emotions:

Physical Changes: spontaneous weight loss, hair loss, red eyes, unkempt appearance, unhabitual nail biting, constant use of medication at work.

Relationship Problems: conflict with other co-workers, lack of desire to participate in group projects, lack of communication with other co-workers at any given point, people who are close to them state they are concerned or show visible worry, customer complaints.

Change in Habits: depending on how well you know the person you will be able to tell when the person is having emotional troubles. In the event that you are not very well acquainted asking the ones closest to them at work about any change is just as good, keeping a personal eye on them for about a week to a month will also help your judgement. This must not be intrusive but done from a distance as it is merely an observation.

Seclusion: constantly alone during breaks, asking to be alone whenever invited, constantly emailing reports rather than coming directly to the manager, asking to move from a customer interaction position out of nowhere, almost no communication to their fellow co-workers physically close to them.

Performance: decline in ability, lack of motivation, always asking for help, trying to avoid responsibility for more important work, refusal to be promoted. (This has to be spontaneous and out of nowhere)

These are all indicators but are not definite and will not easily give away which emotions are the problem. This often will take time to figure out which emotion is the problem and how to fix it. Also, these symptoms can spread to others like an infection, making it harder to solve and thus damaging the companyís performance. The quicker this is fixed the less damaging is will in the long run.

Underlying Impact

The longer it takes to solve the issues the worse they get and the more they effect, an example of the effected aspects would be:

Public Relations: word of mouth from unhappy employees affected by toxic emotions or by others who possess toxic emotions can spread and ruin the reputation of the business. This is much harder to deal with as word of mouth spreads fast through business forums and other media because people trust word of mouth to a great degree.

Work Morale: one personís toxic emotional state has a ripple effect. Others can become irritable by the state of one person and thus more likely to cause conflict. Trust may be lost with employees that are close to that one person in fear of them being similarly toxic and bad internal gossip can spread further proliferating the problem. A lack of motivation and frustration shown in group work can ultimately slow it down or completely destroy it.

Partnerships: if workers who are directly involved in contacting employees from a partnered company possess toxic emotions, it can result in strained relationships and rumors spreading about how your business doesnít look after its employees or hires unstable people. This also results in fewer prospects for other partnerships in the future.

Productivity: as with work morale, productivity for one person that is declining can spread to others and thus impact the entire flow of the business leading to problems in other divisions and thus a loss in overall profitability.

Recruitment: as with public relations, the power of word of mouth is very devastating. Not only can a bad reputation and the internal problem of toxic emotions lead to employees flat out leaving the company, but it also makes it increasingly harder to recruit more people as the damaged reputation will make people reluctant to join a dysfunctional company. This can lead to having to hire unskilled and inexperienced people just to keep up the work force and ensure the survival of the company for some time.

Growth: as with all the other aspects, this is a long-term issue that causes permanent damage such as making it difficult for the business to grow. Acquiring partnerships, spreading into different countries, diversifying into different markets, media growth and so on all become heavily stunted and even impossible to pursue.

Each one of these are an aspect which can lead to the destruction of the business. The only way to fully prevent these is by stopping the problem at the root which is dealing with the toxic emotions.

Solutions/Tips

Now the key to these solutions is human interaction. Almost every solution I will give has the key element of human interaction. You canít control a person like you can a machine, but you can relate and understand them on some level which ultimately makes it easier in the long term. You need to communicate, interact, listen, see and sort things out on a personal level to some degree in order to gain some understanding of the problem so you can address it with the correct/efficient methods. Some solutions are:

Regular Company Outings: regular breaks are needed to re-energize and relax so going on a break with company co-workers can help improve many emotional problems in the business environment. This gives co-workers a chance to spend more time together and get to know each other on a more casual/personal level if they have never got the chance to. Co-workers understanding each other more as well as improving their relationships helps productivity, group work efficiency and leads to less conflict. Most of all it helps to ease depression and loneliness as well as giving a more comfortable place for co-workers to come out on anything that is bugging them emotionally. A good atmosphere (especially around people you work with) helps to improve happiness, excitement and overall motivation in the business environment because people hang on to positive emotions more than toxic ones.

Pairings: doing pairings helps employees to a great extent on an emotional level. It also gives emotional support in the form of someone close to you at work that is easy to converse with and trust. Pairs can help each other with both work and personal/emotional problems and the good synergy created from that can lead to improved quality of work as well as efficiency. This can also have a ripple effect with more people wanting to be paired up and eventually leading to more positive outcomes as I have mentioned.

Management Observations/Involvements: managers of the smaller sections of each department should always be on the lookout to spot any unusual behaviors from their staff. These managers often are more involved with staff then those higher up and therefor stand a better chance of understanding and noticing their employeesí emotional plights. They will also be more trusted to be someone to converse to about these problems. This will also give those higher up a better idea of the state in these sections from the managers that have personally interacted with their staff and therefor will lead to better decision making around these problems and thus better overall outcomes for the business in the future.

Anonymous surveys: this is a good way to get the general emotional mentality of a group of staff or even the whole work force of the business. The anonymity will help people fully express their emotions without fear of being judged or routed out. Preferably this should always be done online as handwriting sometimes gives away who it is. This will also give managers a clear image of current and potential problems and thus makes it quicker to solve these problems. Having a more organized way of identifying a problem is always good.

Decorate/Change Office Space: a lot of people are strange in that they feel energized and uplifted emotionally from being in a more colorful or unique environment. Seeing the same scenery day after day can cause employees to become unmotivated/bored, reluctant and even depressed. Changing the office space up a bit with decorations and different coloring can go a long way in improving the emotional state of workers. Even just rearranging desks or changing the types of seats can also have a great impact.

In-office Psychologist: this is probably the best and safest bet when it comes to dealing with specific people and their emotional problems. Even though it costs significantly more than the other solutions it is often the most effective mean. The psychologist will be much better at identifying these emotional problems thus leading to quicker solutions. People are more willing to open up to a psychologist than others who they are close to in fear of embarrassment and judgement. Solving emotional problems early on will pay off in the long run and thus substantiates an in-office psychologist. Most of the problems I mentioned earlier will not even have a chance to become serious threats to the business as a whole with an in-office psychologist always being present and open.

Conflict Resolution Changes: sometimes changing the way conflict is resolved in the business will lead to better outcomes. If you are noticing that after resolving conflict in your business still leads to conflict later on with the same parties involved and even worse emotional strain evolves from it, then it is best to think about changing the way in which conflict is resolved. Such things include asking someone from outside the business to come and mediate such as a psychologist or someone from a different branch or franchise that is used to dealing with conflict. Another change that can be made is by having a group of the people closest to the two parties involved have a group discussion about the whole issue. It is often best to use people close to those involved so that they are more likely to listen and to open up about anything they refused to before. Do not try and move people who are in conflict to different departments or areas, this does reduce the chances for conflict to happen but both parties can spread rumors and create animosity using more people. This increases the opportunity for the overall hate to grow un-monitored and can thus lead to eruptions at bigger meetings or group collaborations having a much bigger impact than it should.

Ensuring positive emotional outcomes will lead to many positive improvements for the business as a whole.


Outro

I hope this will help any of you who are struggling or would just like a different perspective on this type of problem. Please remember that this is merely just my deductions on this particular issue, but I hope you will all find this quite useful.

Thank you for reading.

P.S I apologize for the length of this article, it was the simplest I could go without delving too much and making you all spend much more time than you would want.


References

(Title: Toxic emotion events and emotion regulation of middle managers in a call center)
(Author: Monique van Dyk)
https://dspace.nwu.ac.za/bitstream/h...=1&isAllowed=y

(Title: Social Interaction Is Critical for Mental and Physical Health)
(Author: Jane E. Brody)
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/12/w...d-for-you.html

(Statistics by the Mental Health Foundation)
https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/statistics

(Title: 8 Keys to Dealing with Problem People)
(Author: Preston Ni)
https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/b...problem-people