What Toxic Masculinity Looks Like In The Workplace

Understand what toxic masculinity looks like in the workplace, how it can hamper productivity and how to create a healthier work environment.

Toxic male behaviour is a pervasive issue in many workplaces around the world.

It refers to harmful behaviours and attitudes that are associated with traditional ideas of masculinity, such as aggression, dominance, and the suppression of emotions.

These behaviours can hurt both individuals and the overall work environment.

In this article, we will explore what toxic masculinity looks like in the workplace, how it manifests, and the consequences it can have.

Related: How to Be a Real Man

Table of Contents

Common Toxic Masculinity Behaviours in the Workplace

A man showing what toxic masculinity looks like in the workplace

Several common behaviours are associated with toxic masculinity in the workplace.

These behaviours can create a toxic environment where employees feel unsafe, unwelcome, or undervalued.

Some examples of these toxic masculine behaviours include:

1. Aggression and Hostility

One of the most obvious signs of toxic masculinity in the workplace is aggression and hostility towards others.

Men who subscribe to toxic masculine values may resort to yelling, intimidation, or even physical violence to assert their dominance or control over others.

This aggressive behaviour can create a hostile work environment and make it difficult for employees to feel safe or comfortable at work.

2. Bullying and Harassment

Another common manifestation of toxic masculinity is bullying and harassment.

Men who adhere to traditional ideas of masculinity may use their power and influence to intimidate, belittle, or otherwise mistreat their colleagues, particularly those who are perceived as weak or vulnerable.

This can create a culture of fear and intimidation in the workplace, where employees are afraid to speak up or report abusive behaviour.

Also Read: Confidence: The Pillar of a Real Man

3. Emotional Suppression

Toxic masculinity also promotes the suppression of emotions, particularly those that are seen as weak or feminine.

Men who adhere to traditional ideas of masculinity may feel pressure to hide their emotions, downplay their vulnerabilities, or avoid seeking help when needed.

This emotional suppression can lead to higher levels of stress, anxiety, and burnout among male employees, who may feel isolated or unable to cope with their feelings.

4. Macho Culture

Toxic masculinity in the workplace is often reinforced by a macho culture that glorifies aggression, competition, and risk-taking.

Men who subscribe to these values may feel pressure to prove their masculinity through risky behaviour.

These behaviours may include, working long hours, taking on excessive workloads, or engaging in physical challenges.

This can lead to a culture of overwork and burnout, where employees are expected to sacrifice their well-being in the name of success.

Related: Ways Toxic Masculinity Can Destroy Relationships

5. Gender Bias

Toxic masculinity can also manifest in gender bias and discrimination in the workplace.

Men who adhere to traditional ideas of masculinity may hold biased attitudes towards women and other marginalized groups, which can result in unequal treatment, unfair opportunities, or microaggressions.

This can create a culture of exclusion and inequality, where certain groups are disadvantaged based on their gender or identity.

Related: Understanding and Cultivating Positive Masculinity

Consequences of Toxic Masculinity in the Workplace

A man who has overworked himself in the at work

The consequences of toxic masculinity in the workplace can be severe and far-reaching.

They can hurt the well-being of employees, the overall work environment, and the success of the organization as a whole.

Some of the key consequences of toxic masculinity in the workplace include:

1. Poor Mental Health

Toxic masculinity harms male employees’ mental health by enforcing traditional gender roles, stifling emotions, and triggering stress, anxiety, and depression.

This can lower job satisfaction, and productivity, and increase burnout, affecting workforce well-being.

2. Low Morale

Toxic masculinity can create a toxic work environment where employees feel unsafe, unwelcome, or undervalued.

Bullying, harassment, and discrimination can damage morale, erode trust, and create a culture of fear and anxiety which would have a detrimental effect on the organization.

Related: Tips on Taking the Toxic Masculinity Test

3. Reduced Job Satisfaction

Employees who feel restricted by toxic masculinity norms may struggle to find fulfilment in their roles, leading to reduced job satisfaction.

This can result in lower motivation and engagement in their work.

4. Impaired Teamwork and Communication

Toxic masculinity can hinder effective teamwork and communication in the workplace.

Employees may struggle to express their thoughts and emotions openly, leading to misunderstandings, conflicts, and a lack of collaboration.

5. Higher Rates of Burnout

Constantly trying to prove their masculinity and meet unrealistic expectations can contribute to burnout among male employees.

This can lead to exhaustion, decreased performance, and ultimately impact the overall productivity of the workforce.

How to Combat Toxic Masculinity in the Workplace

Toxic male behaviour by a colleague

Addressing toxic masculinity in the workplace requires a comprehensive approach that involves individuals, leaders, and organizational policies.

Here are some strategies:

1. Promote Gender Equality

Implement policies and practices that promote gender equality in hiring, promotion, and compensation.

Encourage diversity in leadership roles and provide equal opportunities for professional development.

2. Provide Education and Training

Offer workshops and training programs on topics such as unconscious bias, diversity, and inclusion.

Educate employees about the harmful effects of toxic masculinity and provide strategies for encouraging a respectful and inclusive workplace culture.

3. Encourage Open Communication

Encourage an environment where employees feel comfortable speaking up about issues related to toxic masculinity.

Encourage open dialogue and create channels for reporting harassment or discriminatory behaviour.

4. Lead by Example

Leaders should model positive behaviours and actively challenge toxic masculinity in the workplace.

Demonstrate empathy, respect, and inclusivity in all interactions, and hold individuals accountable for inappropriate behaviour.

5. Establish Clear Policies

Develop clear policies and procedures for addressing instances of harassment, discrimination, or other forms of toxic behaviour.

Ensure that all employees are aware of these policies and understand the consequences of violating them.

6. Provide Support Resources

Offer resources and support services for employees who have been affected by toxic masculinity, such as counselling or support groups.

Create a culture where seeking help is encouraged and stigmatization is minimized.

7. Encourage Diversity in Leadership

Promote diversity in leadership positions to bring diverse perspectives and experiences to decision-making processes.

Ensure that leaders are committed to creating an inclusive and equitable workplace for all employees.

8. Evaluate and Adjust

Regularly assess the effectiveness of your efforts to address toxic masculinity in the workplace.

Solicit feedback from employees and make adjustments as needed to ensure that your policies and practices are promoting a healthy and respectful work environment.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the signs of toxic masculinity in the workplace?

Signs include aggression, promotion of stereotypical male behaviours, suppression of emotions, and resistance to diversity and inclusion efforts.

How does toxic masculinity affect workplace dynamics?

It can lead to poor communication, reduced collaboration, lower job satisfaction, and increased stress and mental health issues among employees.

How do you fight toxic masculinity in the workplace?

Promote open communication, provide diversity and inclusion training, encourage emotional expression, and implement policies that support gender equality and respect.

What impact does toxic masculinity have on organizational culture?

It can create a hostile work environment, limit diversity and inclusion efforts, hinder talent attraction and retention, and impede overall workforce productivity.

Final Word from Gentsways

Recognizing what toxic masculinity looks like in the workplace and addressing it is essential for encouraging a healthy and inclusive work environment.

By identifying signs such as aggression, gender stereotypes, and emotional suppression, organizations can take proactive steps to combat these behaviours.

Promoting open communication, diversity training, and gender equality policies can mitigate the negative effects of toxic masculinity on workplace dynamics and organizational culture.

Embracing a more inclusive and respectful approach benefits employees’ well-being and overall productivity.


  1. https://edexec.co.uk/how-to-tackle-toxic-masculinity-at-work/
  2. https://forge.medium.com/toxic-masculinity-oppresses-men-in-the-workplace-too-210f539fb26f