Dealing with Toxic Coworkers


Not everyone at your workplace offers a positive experience. People with a negative attitude in your workplace can make keeping your cool, and sanity, difficult and stressful. As we discuss some basic techniques for dealing with coworkers with difficult behaviors, you also need to make sure you aren’t contributing to the issue. There are many articles on this issue, but let’s cover the basics.

Are you part of the problem?

We have all met that coworker that is difficult to get along with, but you need to ask how to might be encouraging that person’s toxic behavior. Are you allowing your productivity and attitude to be altered by this persons emotional or behavioral issues? Do you allow this person to drag you into arguments or even have negative thoughts? You can’t allow the problem maker to negatively impact your attitude or performance, which can be more difficult than it sounds.

Sometimes difficult employees are those people that have strong opinions or are just hard reluctant to change processes. Maybe you find someone difficult to talk to because they feel professionally threatened by you, or maybe your leadership style clashes with the way they operate. You might need to address the behavior with a tweak of your own communication style to resolve the issue.

Sometimes just talking to someone, getting to know them personally, helps defuse basic communication issues and build an emotional bridge to a better relationship.

Properly label the behavior

It is often easier to label he person instead of focusing on the problem behavior. If you are trying to understand the problem and determine corrective action, you need to identify the behavior that is problematic so you can build a strategy for addressing the undesirable actions. If you focus on the person, it makes the issue personal and might block you from seeing the potential corrective actions that will lead to solving the overall problem.

Pull the coworker into a private conversation and explain how there behavior is a problem. Don’t make it a personal attack, but a conversation about conduct and how to correct the behavior.

It’s all about perspective

People rarely change, so focus on the things you can control. Control on creating solutions, not the problem. Don’t dwell on what is going wrong, but focus on the expected outcomes and exercises you expect the toxic coworker to perform. Don’t take the problematic behavior personal, but encourage positive behavior by showing positive behavior.

Adjust you expectations by limiting the amount of time you will expose yourself to the toxic team member. Sometimes limiting the dose of venom is enough to lower the stress level and allow you to conduct your normal business without having to deal with toxic overflow.

Take care of the most important person

At the end of the day, you have to look after the most important person, and that is you. Don’t allow the toxic behavior of someone you work with to disrupt your life or cause you health issues. If you get to a point were you just can’t stomach the problem, you have to think about yourself and find a better environment.



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