Let’s face it – no matter how much you love your job, not everyone in the office is always going to be pleasant to be around. Even when you get along with people, sometimes there are those toxic personalities that just drain the energy out of you. Still, being toxic doesn’t mean that someone’s behavior should be treated with anything less than care and respect, even if it’s hard to muster up some sympathy or patience when someone else is acting badly.
Step 1: Make sure you aren’t the issue
Before you take any drastic action in dealing with a toxic co-worker, first ask yourself if you are inadvertently causing some of their negativity. To combat your own behaviour, keep a journal of how you interact with others and try to identify where self improvement is necessary. You may find that dealing with others becomes much easier once you’ve identified your flaws. If not, then it might be time for step two…
Next, examine whether or not you can convince your boss to deal with your co-worker on a higher level than you have. Sometimes people on lower levels of an organisation have difficulty getting issues resolved because they lack credibility or visibility within their company hierarchy. Find out if there are ways you can transfer some work off of your plate to someone else—preferably one who has more clout than you do—and suggest taking those measures when attempting to get things dealt with directly by management.
Step 2: Recognize that bullying behaviour stems from insecurity
Instead of focusing on what is wrong with others, pay attention to why they are behaving in a manner that hurts you. It’s likely that those who hurt you are insecure themselves and feel more confident when putting others down. Instead of thinking about how terrible it is that someone else does not behave appropriately, think about what might be triggering their behaviour and recognize that there is probably a piece of you in their response; you just don’t recognize it yet.
Step 3: Know how to communicate without being aggressive
No matter how difficult a situation may be, there are ways to communicate without coming across as rude or aggressive. Whether you’re working with a new team member, trying to motivate someone, or just need to ask your boss for a raise, here are some ways that you can have better communication in any situation.
Step 4: Disengage when the situation gets out of hand
When it comes to toxic people, it is possible that you will never be able to reconcile your differences and create a productive relationship, even if you see things clearly, DePonte says. This is why it’s important for you not only to watch how these people affect your workplace, but also consider how they affect your personal well-being. If someone at work consistently causes stress or anxiety in you, or makes working difficult because of their constant drama, disengage when necessary.
Step 5: Have your own support network at work
Since many of us spend a large chunk of our waking hours at work, it’s important that we have people there we can count on for support. A supportive boss, mentor or colleagues can help keep you from burning out. They’ll give you guidance and advice and make sure you stay on track toward your professional goals.
His experiences working for top brands like Unilever and Samsonite inspired him to write ‘The Rules of Work. Shivank set out to provide non-bullshitty, fact-based career advice that helps millennial workers get more opportunities and grow their careers faster. This blog is where he documents the daily challenges he and his colleagues face. Check him out on OfficeProductivity.org.