Working In A Toxic Team

Rajat Saxena
3 min readDec 3, 2020


I originally published this on my own blog but I have pivoted my blog to cater to a different audience hence republishing here.

A Stock Image From Unsplash

In this post, I want to record my learnings and takeaways that I’ve acquired after working in a toxic team environment for more than an year. I just want to scribble it down before I forget it all because it serves as a cautionary tale for everyone who is looking forward to working in a team.

I hope this post will give you some pointers about what your next step(s) should be, once you have discovered that you are working in a toxic team or for a egomaniac boss (or team members).

Every man for himself

A toxic team does not understand or promote ideas like empathy, compassion, team play etc. The captain(s) of such a team actively promote the culture of deceit, bullying team members in case they slip up or lambasting team members on every stage inside the company they can get to.

The team members just don’t trust each other. They resort to sycophantic measures in order to secure their positions in the team. It is not something they are naturally inclined to do but it is what they have to do in order to survive (and thrive) in this hostile environment.

It is a losing battle

You will be held accountable for the things you had no control over. You will be required to give clarifications for the actions you did not perform. The leader(s) pick who gets to take the blame and the ensuing beating, although it was a failure of the entire team. People in such a team like to make a mountain out of a molehill.

The captain(s) and their accomplices are never at fault. What’s worse is, even the accomplices keep on rotating. So you can’t really tell apart who to trust and who not to. Once the decision is made that you are responsible for a something, no amount of logical argument are going to suffice. You just have to live with this badge of dishonor on your name till the time your are here.

You will lose your sanity

Initially you will rub things off thinking that you can easily tackle this sort of environment by not paying attention to what others are saying and by delivering a good quality of work. But sooner or later bad things will start to catch up to you.

You will start bothering about how certain words that come out of your mouth will be transformed and misrepresented to the higher ups, even if what you are saying is factually correct and is something what a professional should say. You will be constantly anxious at the work place and you will stop trusting your team.

I ended up leaving the company altogether, although the firm I was working for had a concept of switching projects. It was the best decision ever. I really like the firm though and I have nothing against my past employer. It’s just the team that was bad, like really bad.

Thank you for reading.



Rajat Saxena

Software Engineer; Builds Internet Based Businesses & Apps; Solopreneur