Toxic Meeting at Work: Why You Should Not Be Ashamed of Walking Out - Baltimore Post-ExaminerBaltimore Post-Examiner

Toxic Meeting at Work: Why You Should Not Be Ashamed of Walking Out

The truth is, many of us dislike our jobs; either we are overworked, not appreciated, low paid or surrounded by toxic coworkers. All of these factors contribute to the overall working environment at your workplace, and chances are it is quite bad. The proof of a terrible working environment is usually found in one of the most important events of the corporate culture; the business meeting.

Business meetings always seem to be the essential component of every company, even though the majority of those meetings are disruptive, unnecessary rituals that bring the worst out of the employees. So, not only are business meetings an imperious necessity, but they are also bad for the company and the working environment. If you do work at a company or an office, you probably know what I’m talking about. Toxic business meetings are hell on Earth for the majority of workers around the world, so here are some tips on how to walk out with your head up if the meeting is just too toxic. But before we dive into the topic, make sure to hop over to a great resource that could write a thesis for me in case you are looking for some help in writing for your work or school.

So, let’s go straight into the how’s of leaving a toxic meeting. Just remember, doing things the right way won’t leave you feeling ashamed.

Don’t Be Hasty

Before leaving a business meeting, make sure you have noticed a pattern in a toxic environment that are the business meetings beforehand. In order to feel proud of your decision, you need to assess the situation accurately. Make sure to take notes of the behavior that bothers you or the things you coworkers discuss and do during the meeting. Moreover, take some time to listen to the coworkers and those who complain about the same things. Talk to them about the issue and try to come up with a possible solution to the problem.

Another thing you can do is create a table of the behaviors that bother you so that you can analyze and prioritize them. The table should offer an insight into the operational and emotional impact of toxic behavior, as well as your assumptions of toxic behavior. For example, the project manager doesn’t share the schedule, or the senior engineer explodes during the meetings; think of anything problematic that might have happened during the meetings you believe is a valid reason for leaving the meeting in the future. Once you have everything written down, take the table to the next meeting and check every situation on the table that happened during the meeting. So, after you leave the meeting, you will have written proof and a reason that you left.

Who’s Responsible?

Every toxic environment has a trigger; either it is a person or a particular situation. So, before leaving the meeting, make sure to assess the situation as in looking for the person that should be responsible for it in the first place. Write down valid and accurate reasons why this person should be held accountable for a disastrous meeting, and then leave. It is also essential to know whom should you talk to after leaving the meeting.

You probably don’t want to lose your job over some stupid meeting, so be bold and address the issue with senior coworkers or the boss themselves, even before the meeting itself. This way, you will have secured the ground for a safe walkout.

Stay Polite

According to Inc., if you are planning to leave the meeting, you should follow several rules that may make your walkout both effective and polite. Here are some steps to follow:

  • Prepare a compelling excuse; don’t just rush out without even addressing the fact that you’re leaving
  • If you believe the meeting is going to be as toxic as the meeting before, arrive early and sit near the door
  • Make sure to inform the meeting leader of the issues you have had with the meetings, so they know that you’re feeling uncomfortable
  • Don’t spread your stuff around on the desk; since you’ll be leaving earlier than the rest of the coworkers, make sure to have everything close
  • If the business meeting usually has a break, you can use that time to address the toxic meeting issue with the team leader and appropriately not show up after the break
  • Since you have let your team leader know about your intentions, you can also give a ‘nod’ before exiting the room.
  • Stand tall; find a way to draw a line in the sand without throwing a tantrum

Reveal the Issue to The Coworkers

After you’ve left the meeting, things will get a bit awkward between you and your coworkers. Therefore, it is essential to clean the air and handle the situation as professionally as possible. Once you have left the meeting, head over to the business director or manager and explain the situation. Hand them over the tables and the written proof of the toxicity you’re experiencing during the business meeting. Also, make sure not to directly blame anyone, as that might worsen the situation even more; according to Leading Geeks, blame encourages corporate toxicity even further. Here are the possible outcomes of the ‘blame’:

  • To blame your coworker means you’re focusing on the negative past and not the positive and improved future of the meetings
  • Blaming furthers the maladaptive behavior
  • Blame isn’t successful at addressing the systemic nature of toxic coworkers and meetings
  • Blame may indicate your coworkers are ‘bad’ people, and you’d want to avoid that

Reassess Your Own Behavior

A company comprises hundreds of people who are entirely different from each other in a unique way. That means, sometimes, what other people consider a productive working environment, you may perceive as a toxic business meeting. Therefore, before the actual walkout, make sure to reassess your behavior and see whether it needs improvement in line with your coworkers. Also, try to find ways in which you alone could improve the toxic environment of the business meetings; maybe you could introduce new tech gadgets to use at the meeting or a new type of interactive presentation. You know what they say if you want to change the world, start with yourself.


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