Toxic co-workers are in nearly every workplace. From the colleague who often takes credit for your work to the office gossip, there are many types of personalities in a work environment. You won’t want to be office besties with everyone, but toxic co-workers can ruin an otherwise awesome job. And if you’re not careful, they could ruin your entire outlook on your job. Here are some powerful tactics to deal with difficult co-workers:
1. Don’t complain
We all have our own ways of releasing frustration. But venting only keeps you focused on the problem and prevents you from creating a solution. Be especially careful about complaining to your leader. Complaining is not only a sign you feel you lack power over your situation, it’s also an indication that you lack power over your attitude. So rather than complain about your situation being unfair, find a solution to the problem.
2. Retain your personal power
Dealing with a toxic person can make us feel drained of our personal power. But we can take back our personal power when we see that we have choices. And when we stop letting fear rule us. Being mindful of your power doesn’t necessarily change the reality of your situation. It probably won’t change the other person’s actions or beliefs either. But as you become more aware of how you give away your power, and as you practice taking that power back, you will start to feel better about the situation.
3. Stay focused on the task at hand
Walking into a toxic workplace can feel you’re back in high school. People love to gossip, from the office affair to the incompetent guy in the team or why someone quit. There might even be group texts or Slack channels devoted to talking badly about other employees. Gossiping and congregating in clicks to do it, seems to be an office social mainstay. But don’t get caught up in it. Instead, focus on yourself and the job you are there to do.
4. Establish boundaries
For a start, try not to engage with them and their behaviour. For example, don’t gossip with them or buy into their negativity about the organisation. And ask them to stop their behaviour, whether it’s complaining around you or stealing your thunder at meetings. Having a conversation and setting firm boundaries can save you from feeling more stress in the long-term. Just be prepared that this step may not solve your problem. But it should help you gain some personal power back.
5. Practice healthy coping skills
Dealing with a toxic co-worker can take a serious mental toll on you. So it’s important to practice healthy coping. Experiment with a variety of coping skills, like gratitude and meditation, to discover what works best for you. Make sure to take care of your physical health as well. It’s impossible to stay mentally strong when you’re abusing your body with alcohol, sleep deprivation or junk food.
The main thing to remember is that this person may not be aware of their toxic behaviour. So If they are impeding your productivity, then think about bringing other co-workers into the conversation or alerting management. Having more people with you can make a bigger impact. If you’re being bullied, ostracised or harassed then it’s especially important to involve your leader and HR.