Dealing with toxic colleagues

THERE have always been terrible co-workers since the dawn of organised labour. However, their influence feels larger and more damaging these days. To function, businesses require teamwork. And, teams must be more collaborative, adaptive, and proactive than ever before. Top-down decision making is a thing of the past in many firms and sectors, replaced by grassroots creativity released by co-workers freely networking and exchanging knowledge across boundaries.

Because of this new dynamic, problematic teammates may negatively impact the results of an entire team in ways that were far more difficult to achieve in the previous, segregated modes of working. A toxic work environment not only has an impact on your mental health, but also reduces your productivity at work. While there are many factors that contribute to a toxic workplace, it’s much worse when the individuals you spend the most time with at work are the reason why you are having a bad day. Here are five professional techniques to deal with a toxic co-worker problem.

Set boundaries

The first thing you can do is to avoid entertaining them and to establish appropriate limits. Stop hanging out with them if it impacts your mental health, and avoid office politics and gossip, even if they are directed at others. Also, tell them about clear and concrete limits you want to maintain at work. It’s wonderful to have some co-worker pals, but you don’t have to be friends with everyone. It is okay to urge people to leave you alone if they are barging in on you to unload their belongings when you are trying to get things done. It is fine to be solely professional. We don’t need to know everyone’s deep dark secrets, or see other people’s lives on Facebook, or hear about complaints in various departments, unless it’s directly related to our job. Wearing headphones might also help you appear less accessible.

Try talking it out

If you notice your co-worker engaging in inappropriate behaviour toward you, call them out on it as soon as you notice it. Talk to them directly and urge them to stop gossiping about you, continuously criticising you, or backstabbing you. Make certain that you utilise the appropriate phrases and do not come across as unpleasant or theatrical. Remember that being clear and courteous is far preferable to allowing the conduct to continue. Allowing things to slip may lead to greater issues in the future.

Raise your own game

Do not lower yourself to their level. Keep an eye out for and moderate your fight-or-flight reaction. The more you can keep your attention on team goals, the less likely it is that you will become blinded by ‘win/lose’ thinking with this highly toxic peer. Set a good example for how you want the team to behave. Set a standard for the rest of the team that encourages collaboration and open communication rather than revenge.

Talk to your superior

Actively recommend to your boss that the team gather to establish team standards and begin to address some of the team’s troublesome behaviours and disagreements. This session should not be used as a ploy to confront the toxic team member. It should be a genuine and honest engagement in which team members may acquire insight into one another’s points of view, establish clear expectations of behaviour, and promote peer-to-peer responsibility. You should not use this meeting to ambush a co-worker. Instead, ask everyone in the team to come up with real solutions to the challenges that everyone is experiencing.

Think of yourself first

You don’t not want to become the toxic coworker you despise. Finding out how they got there is an excellent method to prevent it from happening. You might be able to avoid this by imagining yourself in their shoes. Looking at things through their eyes may help to throw some light on the problem. Consider your own attitudes and how you act in response to them, for example. Consider how they view you, especially if you are the one that they frequently strike out at. Is this something you do unknowingly? If that’s the case, adjust your ways and they could change theirs. You may also avoid yourself from getting so pessimistic. Try to learn as much as you can from the circumstance and see it as a chance to progress. This might assist to turn a negative circumstance into a positive one.

Leave the work environment

Now, you can’t always make a bad situation better. You might not be able to influence the person’s behaviour. Instead of sitting and waiting for anything to happen, while the toxicity slowly drains away at you, your best choice may be to leave. There’s a little chance that the individual in issue will resign or be fired. Unfortunately, you may have to leave. This may seem challenging at first, but it will most certainly benefit you in the long term.

Take proper care of yourself. Do not overlook toxicity to the point that individuals feel comfortable trampling over you, and speak out if necessary. You are making efforts. You don’t want to get fired. You want to please everyone, yet attempting to please everyone might lead people to just step on you. Do not let this toxic behaviour harm your mental or physical wellbeing. Own what you can, let go of what you can’t control, and make a change if necessary.