Tackling Toxicity

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Last Updated on December 21, 2020

Your colleagues are great. They chat, they make coffee, they help you through your working day. But there’s always someone that you just can’t get along with, that one person who seems determined to single you out and make your day that much harder.

If you’ve got “that colleague” in your team, you’ll recognize how toxic it can quickly make any office environment. Unfortunately, they always seem to the one that has the boss on their side and makes you think twice about rocking the boat.

And it really doesn’t matter which industry you’re in, these awkward people get everywhere.

So, aside from getting frustrated and angry, what else can you do to handle your temperamental co-worker and restore some tranquillity to your working day? We take a look at some top tips for dealing with colleagues who drive you nuts.

Image courtesy of Pexels

It’s Not You

Recognize off the bat that their behavior actually has very little to do with you and probably stems from a deep insecurity. You can choose to ignore the barbed remark and rude behavior, or you can give some positive reinforcement a go. You never know, it might just work. Praise them for everything they do that’s great. Don’t make stuff up or praise inconsequential work but give credit where it’s due and even flag it up to the boss.

Your kind words may be the only piece of positivity they have in their lives and you never know what it’s doing deep down so stick with it. Plus, it will make you feel positively saintly.

Keep Your Distance

If their behavior is really beginning to stress you out, then staying away as much as possible can be one solution. Trying to limit your interactions with them should keep you out of the firing line but won’t help your other poor colleagues trying to deal with him or her.

Don’t Get Sucked In

Even if you agree with the negative criticism of what they’re talking about, it’s never good to start agreeing with someone toxic. Either they will use what you’ve said against you, making you look like a serial complainer or they’ll have you down as an ally, which can be equally as dangerous. Instead, where possible, try and draw the positive out of every situation to avoid their complaint ramping up into a drama.

If All Else Fails

There’s no reason at all why you should have to put up with someone who makes you life hellish. Begin keeping a log of when and where they spoke to you and what was said. Keep a personal diary detailing the impact they’re having on your working life and your personal discomfort. When you have sufficient evidence, escalate the matter to the boss or your HR team and make sure it gets taken seriously. Follow-up by asking what action is to be taken and push until some harmony is restored in your day-to-day office life.

My Life, I Guess

My Life, I Guess is a personal finance and career blog by Amanda Kay, an Employment Specialist and older millennial from Ontario, Canada that strives to keep the "person" in personal finance by writing about money, mistakes, and making a living. She focuses on what it’s like being in debt, living paycheck to paycheck, and surviving unemployment while also offering advice and support for others in similar situations - including a FREE library of career & job search resources.

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