How to Deal with a Toxic Coworker

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Most people have experienced at some point having a co-worker they don’t get along with. It’s almost impossible to work in a job where you enjoy working with everyone around you. In most cases we get by and learn to coexist.

One thing that can make this dynamic dysfunctional is toxic people — the kind of person who drags you down or affects your work ethic and enjoyment of your career itself. A toxic colleague is seen as rude, aggressive, confrontational, and disrespectful. They always seem dissatisfied with their position and the job at hand. This trait can be expressed through their words, demeanor, and body language, or even their productivity and job performance.

How can a toxic employee harm your business?

While it can be difficult for an individual employee to deal with and keep a toxic colleague in check, it can also be detrimental to the organization as a whole. A toxic worker can destabilize an entire work environment and its ability to work at peak performance, which is one of the reasons a toxic worker can be so dangerous. It’s important for managers to catch the problem before it spirals out of control and affects the entire team.

Also See: 6 “Win-Win” Ways to Deal with Toxic Workers (Without Causing Permanent Damage)

What are the signs of toxic employees?

But how do we recognize a toxic employee? Look for signs like an inability to compromise, be held accountable for one’s work, and other difficulties that may arise in the office.

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Another easy way to identify toxic employees is to notice that they often complain and play the victim card. Although some work complaints are normal and to be expected, you need to maintain a mindset that everything is a personal attack on them. Whether it’s a new edict from management or something with a co-worker, toxic employees view actions and decisions as being made by others to purposefully disrupt their workflow. For a toxic person, everything is always personal. This can also lead to gossip about other employees in the office.

Toxicity in the office could also turn into bullying. When a worker thinks people are after them, they play the victim card and go into defense mode. Bullying colleagues in this situation is a logical and unfortunate consequence. It’s a constant struggle to avoid conflict with toxic workers – the drama weighs on everyone around them.

Related: How to Excel When You Have Toxic Colleagues

How to deal with toxic colleagues

There are several action steps for dealing with toxic people. First of all, keep an eye on who you surround yourself with. Try to limit your time with someone who is toxic; Instead, you should try to work with responsible colleagues who take responsibility for their work and have a positive attitude towards work (and life) in general.

If a situation with a toxic co-worker is becoming too much for you, or if it has definitely reached a level consistent with bullying, speak to your manager about the situation. If your manager is the toxic colleague, contact your company’s human resources department. If you’re not comfortable with this, many companies have an anonymous tipster hotline where you can report what’s happening.

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When the workplace becomes toxic

Sometimes the end result of not dealing with a toxic colleague or toxic person in the office is a toxic workplace in general. This is a situation where negativity surrounds almost everyone and everything.

Not only will this toxic environment stunt progress in terms of employee growth and overall happiness, it will also have a severe impact on your customer relationships and overall business success. Wait too long, and a person or conflict will erupt into an all-encompassing negative environment that no one wants to be near.

To avoid reaching this level of toxicity in the workplace, immediately identify toxic characteristics in co-workers and co-workers. In the long run, your business will be better off, and your employees will be happier too.

Related: How to Spot a Toxic Employee and the 3-Step Process to Address Them

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