Do You Need Soft Skills Training for Law Firms? 10 Signs of a Toxic Workplace

Image illustrates a toxic workplace

Savvy Training & Consulting is pleased to announce that we are now a proud partner with HSI, which offers training, safety management and compliance solutions for businesses of all sizes. We are especially excited about the expanded catalog of soft skills training for law firms that we can now access for our clients. HSI acquired Vado, our previous partner. This expansion will enable Savvy to provide human resources leaders at law firms with trainings for their workforce, keeping workers safe and meeting regulatory and operational compliance requirements.

Recently, HSI ran the following article outlining the top 10 signs of a toxic workplace and we thought it might be interesting to our audience.

If you are seeking soft skills training for law firms, please contact Savvy today!

10 Signs of a Toxic Workplace

With today’s labor shortage, organizations can’t afford to ignore the signs of a toxic workplace. This might be company-wide, or isolated to a specific department. As a manager, it’s your responsibility to create a safe, supportive, and productive environment. If you suspect that there might be toxic behaviors among your team members, and possibly, leadership and the entire organization, this check list may help you diagnose those issues. At the end of the article, we also provide a list of soft skills training for law firms to help you rid your organization of toxicity, in whatever forms it might exist.

Among Employees

1. Gossip and Cliques

The first possible sign of a toxic workplace is when there is lots of gossiping or workplace cliques. It’s natural for employees to create friend groups, but when they become exclusive and divisive, it’s a problem. It should be addressed directly with the person or people you are concerned about. 

2Bullying and Harassment

Other toxic workplace behaviors include bullying, harassment, and even sexual harassment. Unfortunately, not all this behavior is considered illegal. The law does not require bad bosses to be kind or supportive. Some toxic leaders use threats, insults, and intimidation as their means to “motivate” employees. If they don’t target their behavior and are equal-opportunity abusers, it’s legal. That said, it will lead to rampant turnover, which no organization desires. Soft skills training for law firms can help you train away toxic behaviors.

3. Rampant Absenteeism

A healthy company culture encourages employees to take vacation time to manage their mental health and work stress. But if you are seeing high levels of absenteeism on a regular basis, this is a sign of toxic work culture, and a lack of work-life balance. Toxicity can affect the physical health of your employees and be the cause of absenteeism. Good managers will recognize absenteeism as a warning sign, and work to make positive changes in the best interests of their team.

4Apathy, Excuse-Making, Procrastination

Multiple missed deadlines, preventable mistakes, and a decrease in quality scores are signs you may have issues with apathy and procrastination. When you talk to your employees about the quality of their work overall, you may face a lack of remorse, weak excuses, or even silence.

Employees thrive in a healthy workplace. And healthy is defined here as providing the necessary training and motivation. Meanwhile, a toxic workplace will lack access to the training and professional development needed to help employees receive constructive feedback and take steps to improve.


Employees in a toxic culture can feel beaten down by negative energy and negative people. It becomes easy to fall into pessimism and expect the worst. You may overhear people ridiculing the company mission, complaining about impossible timelines, or mocking the business leaders. The longer the toxic environment remains status quo, pessimism will continue to fester and negatively affect employee engagement. 

This image includes a toxic workplace checklist

Among Managers

6Little or Poor Communication

A common complaint in employee surveys is a lack of transparency and communication from senior leadership. For example, can you imagine the impact on morale if executives in a law firm will not respond to an email, voicemail, or meeting invite from anyone without a VP title? This problem is exacerbated in toxic workplace culture. A healthy work environment is fueled by effective communication from managers. It can be frustrating and distracting to employees when they are blindsided by changes in policies and processes, or simply kept out of the loop. Companies should make internal communications a priority and have a plan to cascade news and announcements throughout the organization.


Disorganization is a symptom of poor change management and poor project management. Disorder at the top causes chaos and heavier workloads for the employees. It also fuels the overall toxic environment. A common dysfunction of companies is when they are divided by siloed departments, trying to run independently, and not sharing information, decisions, or project plans. This kind of behavior is an indicator of the company’s culture and core values, directly affecting employee engagement. You can affect positive cultural change by requiring soft skills training for law firms.


Another sign of a toxic workplace is the poor leadership of dictators in managerial roles. They are driven by their ego and often try to orchestrate everything themselves. They try to micromanage all aspects of your work. Their lack of trust can cause low morale and high turnover rates. Dictators also stifle creativity and innovation. They slow progress and hinder productivity. As a manager, you need a high level of self-awareness and emotional intelligence to recognize your own leadership style, weaknesses, and areas that need improvement. And if you tend toward dictatorial methods, it is critical that you catch and fix those behaviors.

9Workaholic Behavior

There is a natural ebb and flow to most normal work. We all have busy times and heavier workloads at certain times of the year. A workaholic drives a workload that requires longer hours and constant pressure as the norm. They don’t value work-life balance and they don’t care about your personal time.

10Unsafe or Unethical Business Practices

The final sign of toxicity that stems from management is unsafe or unethical business practices. An example might be if you observe deception in how key metrics are reported or manipulated. Or maybe a decision is made to reduce cleaning or maintenance practices to save on expenses.

Soft Skills Training for Law Firms to Alleviate a Toxic Culture

So, whether you are a manager who made a bad hire and the new employee has brought negative energy to the group, or you are a department head who recognizes toxic behavior in your team, or you are a senior executive wanting to change the workplace culture, Savvy Training and HSI can help.

HSI’s employee training and development solutions offer you a wide selection of courses to help you build a positive, productive culture at your law firm. We recommend the following training programs to help you wipe out a toxic work culture:

  • The Toxic Work Environment
  • Dealing With Difficult Co-workers
  • Stopping the Drama
  • Workplace Bullying
  • Understanding Harassment
  • How to Finish What You Start
  • Time Management
  • Healthy Communication
  • Concerned Conversations
  • Change Management
  • Project Management
  • Creating a Culture of Transparency
  • Organizational Dysfunction
  • Ethics for Managers and Employees

If you are seeking soft skills training for law firms, contact Savvy today. You can even book a quick demo of any HSI training program using Calendly.


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