The legal definition of a Hostile Working Environment is a situation in which an employer or coworker’s repeated actions make it impossible for an employee to perform his or her job duties. Although the legal definition was created for litigation purposes, the
practical definition is relatable to many.
It is working in an adverse environment that has an intimidating,
antagonistic or offensive nature.
Nobody wants to work in a hostile environment, but when we look at it from a Godly perspective, it becomes not only understandable, but a doable environment of growth.
Purpose of Hostile Working Environments
The enemy uses hostile environments to introduce emotional stress through anger, frustration, resentment, and ultimately pain. Emotional turmoil shortens your life as it depletes your energy and accelerates the aging process. It literally drains you.
Emotional pain doesn’t stay at work. Those enduring a hostile environment carry that environment in their thoughts as they leave work or prepare to return. Now the 40 hours have turned to 50 and 60 hours of frustration.
God Allows Hostile Environments for Purpose
A hostile environment fosters character. It is a part of your development not your destruction. When we are in this type environment, we are in a factory for the Holy Spirit to produce fruit. We develop patience, meekness, and temperance – characteristics that not only bring God glory, but make you valuable to your employer
Hostile Environments Proves Your Gifting. A hostile environment is to your gift as fire is to gold. It purifies, hardens, and increases its value. Your gift shines in adverse situations because it comes from your core. When operating in your gift it produces an energy called passion. Passion counters the negative effects of stress and allows you to remain highly productive in an environment that cripples others.
How to Operate In Hostile Environment
Don’t let the environment get in you. Like a boat in the ocean, as long as you keep the water out it remains a float. Likewise you remain functional by keeping the hostile environment out of your heart. Keep your heart clean through prayer, praise & worship, and being quick to forgive.
Don’t expect to be celebrated. Although it would be ideal, your employment isn’t the place you should expect to receive affirmation. The only contractual obligation you should expect from your job is pay!
Embrace Change. Most people don’t like change because it dislodges them from their comfort zone. You should not only embrace change, but become a change agent in line with your organization’s vision.
Be a force of peace. Don’t engage in unnecessary arguments or take an adversarial stand against others. Keep your focus on the job and improving it. If at all possible pursue peace with everyone. (Hebrews 12:14)
Don’t join forces with any cliques. Cliques form to meet the psychological & emotional needs of the disgruntled. Satan tempts us to join them because they provide a false sense of security. When we do, we can associate ourselves with what can possibly be viewed as a problem.
Learn how to handle difficult people. Most hostile environments are created by one or a few difficult people. When you learn how they operate, and most importantly how to interact with them, then you improve your chances of mitigating hostility. So it doesn’t matter if you have a narcissistic leader, an argumentative coworker, or a complaining employee there is a way to approach them.
Have a vision of a better tomorrow. A long term vision gives you power to endure temporary situations. If you know you are headed somewhere then you gain strength by keeping that goal before your eyes. Jesus endured the cross because a joy was set before Him. (Hebrews 12:2) Make sure there is a joy set before you and you will find your way through the hostile environment as well.
I’m Andrew Freed and you are an Overcomer in Christ.
Are you in or ever been in a hostile working environment now? I’d love to hear how you are handling it.