How to Deal with Toxic Coworkers

toxic coworkers

Not only can toxic coworkers make going to work difficult, but their toxicity also bleeds into the whole work environment. Every time you go to work you feel like you’re walking into a thick smog of negativity, drama, and dysfunction.

A toxic work environment is more than just a job you hate.

Career Contessa

Dealing with toxic people drains you mentally and physically. You stay tense even long after you have left your work environment.

You might even notice that your sleeping and eating patterns have changed over time because of all the stress you experience at work.

At home, you become short-tempered and irritable with your family members, and you start to notice how the toxicity is affecting your whole life.

Unfortunately, you might not be able to change jobs, and thinking about it all makes you feel defeated. You dread what the future might look like if you keep having to deal with these people every day.

You might even try to think of ways to get leave off of work for a short period to help you cope with all of the stress you have been feeling. Like a death in the family, illness, or another type of emergency. Anything! because you can’t deal with your toxic coworkers for another day.

Signs of workplace toxicity:

Drama- There is always gossiping, bullying, and backbiting between coworkers and even with management.

High Turnover Rate- Employees don’t stay very long. There is always someone quitting or someone new coming in as a replacement.      

Lack of Professionalism- Your coworkers do not take their job seriously. They do not care about their performance at work or the service they are providing. They act, dress, and or speak inappropriately at work.

Lack of leadership and organization- The captain has abandoned the ship. Everyone is left to their own devices. When there is a lack of leadership, employees feel as they can do as they please. The workplace becomes chaotic, disorganized, and not a lot of work gets done.

The common types of toxic coworkers at the work place:

‘’The I am the boss when the boss is not around’’: You can easily recognize theses types because they have self-volunteered to micromanage you and the whole office. They treat everyone with contempt but will be on their best behavior when management is around. 

‘’The Ms. Drama queen’’: Everything is a big deal. They complain about everything and anything. They complain about work, management, other coworkers, even their life if you are willing to listen. They never get any work done because they spend so much time and effort just complaining about everything. 

‘’The Bully’’: They use power, intimidation, and or aggression to purposely harm or humiliate their victims. They enjoy making things difficult for others and take up every opportunity to do so.

‘’The Star Employee’’: They believe they don’t have to be a team player because they are a star on their own. They are highly competitive and might even have a self-serving attitude. They don’t like to share ideas but will take the credit for someone else’s work if they had the opportunity to. 

‘’The I’m here but not really’’: This type can be harmless in most ways but the toxic trait they are known for is not contributing or pulling their own weight at the workplace. They come in late, have long lunch breaks, and leave work early. They are never where they are supposed to be when you anyone is looking for them. Where are they?

‘’The inappropriate one’’: They treat the workplace like a bar or a club. They spend their day flirting and hitting on other coworkers, even the committed ones. They loudly boast about their sexual conquests and believe that everyone wants a piece of them. There are times they might dress inappropriately for a workplace setting. They might even leave a trail of sexual harassment complaints from prior employers. 

‘’The Tattletale’’: These people try to get close to others and or observe everything that is going on in the workplace so they can report back to management about everyone else’s wrongdoings. Many times, you might not know who this person is as they can be stealthy and cunning.

How to keep your sanity:

Keep your eyes on the prize: Stay focused on the goals and deadlines you have to make. Do not involve yourself involved with idle chat. Keep to yourself and your focus on the work at hand.

Stay neutral: Keep your emotions and feeling neutral. Taking sides or becoming too emotionally involved will leave you feeling exhausted and drained. 

Your relationship goals with your coworkers whether they are nice or difficult should all be neutral. 

When we personally involve ourselves too much at the workplace with others then we make it easy for the drama to find its way to us.

Boundaries: You need to set boundaries at the workplace. You should have different boundaries for coworkers, managers, and the work environment. 

Others should understand to respect your boundaries as you do to theirs. Set a limit of tolerance for yourself. 

You should be able to know when it gets too much, and you might have to leave and walk away.

Self-care: Do you have certain self-care and self-love practices that you do routinely? You should!

Life is just not about work and responsibilities. Put time aside where you can commit to giving back to yourself. Do the things that you enjoy or that relax you.

Author: Anna Rose

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