Even if you don’t like your job, working with certain coworkers can derail your day (or even much worse). If you must put up with bullies, gossips, or people who take credit for your work, it will make it challenging to advance in your career. Even so, we have developed five suggestions on how to respond to an aggressive coworker.
But perhaps we first discuss the three types of toxic coworkers you might encounter.
Types of toxic coworkers
Certainly, the thought of “toxic coworkers” brings to mind one person you have worked with. You don’t have to get along with every coworker, but it’s good if they are generally friendly and do not make your job life more difficult.
While you may encounter a toxic co-worker occasionally, let’s instead focus on when those messing up your job are fellow workers. Some examples of how these harmful coworkers might interact are given below.
People who take all the credit
One of the worst kinds of toxic coworkers you may encounter are those who take credit for another worker’s work. You know the type, right? After spending weeks working long hours on a collaborative project, the credit-taker swoops in at the last minute and takes all the credit. They give all the credit for the job others do.
Credit theft is so frustrating because your hard work deserves to be acknowledged. You deserve the recognition of your manager or project supervisor.
However, when confronted with toxic coworkers, they may lead the boss to believe you are underperforming. They might even speak more loudly in meetings or perform underhanded acts to take the credit.
Not only can credit-stealers leave you feeling bad, but they could also cause you to miss out on work or promotions you rightfully deserve.
People who blame others for their mistakes
Just as with the thief, the colleague who blames others for errors is a particularly egregious type of colleague. When a mistake is made, they are quick to blame someone else. They may blame you for not having sent that Slack message on time, or they may say the economy is impacting sales goals.
While it’s common to complain about and vent sometimes, at some point, negativity becomes too much. Perhaps you are dealing with toxic people at work who are too negative. One reason they are so dangerous is negativity seeps into everyone around them.
It’s crucial to boost morale in the workplace. That’s why it’s vital to handle a toxic coworker who complains a lot.
Another type of noxious coworker you might run into at your workplace is a bully. Bullies may intimidate you and other coworkers into not raising concerns during meetings.
They may try to force you to do work and then take the credit. Perhaps they are watching your every move, hoping to catch the mistake to share with their manager.
Of course, sometimes seemingly harmless comments can become harmful gossip. Dealing with toxic coworkers who talk about others can make it tough to focus on your work. You can’t trust the office grapevine because you never know when they might start criticizing you behind your back.
Do you have a coworker who is always trying to control you and everyone else in the office? Even when they aren’t the manager or the supervisor, they feel they have to be in charge of everything you do.
Having a plan to deal with hostile coworkers who try to control you and others can be useful. They may refuse to take part in meetings so they can keep you from participating.
5 Helpful tips for dealing with toxic coworkers
A sad fact in the work world is that you’re often unable to fully avoid toxic people. You can, however, create strategies for managing them.
These five techniques will enable you to advance in your career and remain unbothered by a toxic coworker. Here’s what you’ve been looking for!
1. Communicate clearly when dealing with toxic coworkers
Communication is essential to any relationship, whether it be with your family, friends, or coworkers. One of the best ways to stay ahead of problems with toxic coworkers is to always communicate clearly.
Always be polite and respectful when interacting with coworkers. We should learn this social skill just as we learn to communicate well with the people in our lives.
When working with an untrustworthy colleague, you can prevent conflicts by being polite and respectful. Tell them what they need to do to ensure the project runs efficiently, and be straightforward if they make any mistakes.
When dealing with toxic personnel in the workplace, it’s best to keep things calm. This means avoiding arguments and admonishment. However, it’s important not to remain silent about undesirable behaviors, either. Rather than defensiveness, you should promote camaraderie with your coworkers.
This can involve a fine tightrope act: Communicating directly with individuals when they let you down, but not taking an uncompromising or hostile tone.
Approach your coworker in a manner that recognizes you might not be perfect, but you have an issue that must be resolved (bullying, taking the credit, or whatever it may be).
2. Focus on what you can control
When we focus on the actions of others, we waste our energy. When you’re working with toxic people at work, it can be challenging to attribute every failure to those individuals.
However, your coworkers do not have control over every aspect of your life. You can improve your job situation by concentrating on the things you can influence.
First, you control your work performance. Now, does that mean your gossiping, credit-stealing colleagues do not influence how you function? No. But by focusing on your primary work, you can prevent spending time worrying about your coworkers.
If you want to stay with your current employer, you have to find a way to still do well, regardless of what the person next door does.
Ultimately, you want to be successful at work, increase your income, and enjoy your life. Don’t allow your toxic coworkers to have any influence on those goals-be the wonderful employee or entrepreneur you know how to be!
The best way to deal with a difficult coworker is to maintain a positive outlook.
You may be right, but it can’t hurt to think a little harder. Examine yourself for toxic behaviors you frequently perform in colleagues and consider whether you might have done those things as well.
This is only the idea of putting yourself in someone else’s shoes. If someone’s negativity or overly controlling behavior is causing you stress, be sure to be careful that you are not doing the same thing to someone else.
If you’re unable to change the behavior of a toxic coworker, at least you should avoid participating in gossip yourself. However, it’s not reasonable to stop yourself from hearing such talk.
If you feel weird when your coworker is trying to get you to disparage someone else, you can choose to walk away or not respond.
3. Focus on positive relationships at work
One of the best ways to help combat toxic coworkers is to seek out those who are kind to you, who are positive about your work, and who make it enjoyable.
The best way to deal with a toxic coworker is to spend time with the coworkers you regard as friends. Rather than dwelling on those poisonous individuals all day, spend your time getting to know the great colleagues at work.
Conversations with co-workers can inspire camaraderie and friendship, so try to build a good rapport with them during lunchtime or after work. Do some exciting activities together on the weekends.
You can develop better connections with the people who are terminally ill as well. Give them a chance to do the right thing and try to see things from their perspective.
These toxic coworkers never ask for forgiveness or modify their behavior. Don’t spend too much time on them.
4. Talk to your superiors about toxic coworkers
While we don’t want to think of ourselves as the office snitch, you should report your coworkers for toxic behaviors to your manager. Whether it is your manager, project leader, or CEO of the company, your boss might not know your coworker is polluting the environment.
Working with your supervisors is the proper way to respond to a toxic coworker.
In a group, it’s important to make sure that each team member knows the expectations of his or her position. If you all meet together, ask the leader or team leader if the team’s operations will be uniform or if certain tasks should be carried out by particular individuals.
If five people are only required to perform a certain task, that is a prime opportunity for less dedicated colleagues to rise up and take credit for it. The credit-takers should permit the more hardworking individuals to do the heavy lifting, with the understanding that they will be vocal during the presentation or act like they completed the task by themselves.
When you explain the duties of your coworkers ahead of time, it’s simple for your boss to visit each person and ask if she completed all her tasks. That way, the credit-taker can’t steal your thunder.
Plus, you can show off what you have accomplished and who didn’t do their share.
You can also point out when others in the group have done more than their share. This shows your maturity and leadership, and it is a great way to show support for your coworkers.
Another option is to berate your coworker with a strategy you may not like. Although you may not want to involve your supervisor in every single dispute with a toxic coworker, it is important to let him or her know when there is a serious problem.
Some tasks should be sent to Human Resources, but others must be brought to the project leader or manager. If you have a team member who always finds ways to contribute, they may dominate the meeting.
That’s hurting the entire group! You can discuss the issue with the team leaders and make sure they know how that person’s actions affect you. If someone is toxic in a severe way, including having repeated bullying tactics or used threats, you may document these behaviors.
Store copies of your emails or texts if a coworker is behaving badly, so you have a record to give to HR.
5. Practice self-care as a way to deal with a toxic coworker
You can use the next tip to focus on what’s within your control-your responses to toxic coworkers. While doing this, however, you may also gain the resolve needed to face a difficult coworker and accomplish your job.
Try adding healthier behaviors or new self-administered therapies to help you manage your stress on the job. Healthy practices can help you conquer toxic tendencies.
In general, people who are in top physical condition are less affected by negative workplace interactions. It will not improve your officemate, but it could enable you to be less explosive.
Eat a healthy diet both at work and outside of work. What you eat affects how you feel and how you think-especially around toxic coworkers.
Be sure to eat when you need to, stash healthy snacks at the office if possible, and avoid foods and drinks that sap your energy. What works best may change from day to day, but most of us do not perform well after eating too much sugar or drinking a dozen cups of coffee.
Although working out frequently won’t stop Susie in the hallway from talking about everyone at work, it will make you feel your best. If you discover that you can’t seem to carve out twenty minutes a day for some type of workout, your work and personal life will both suffer.
Meditation is a wonderful habit for improving mental health. There are many different forms for this, so try a few out at your discretion. You can try guided meditations, deep breathing, progressive relaxation, or other kinds of meditation.
Positive comments can also help to improve your mood and enable you to deal with toxic colleagues. These could be optimistic comments in general, or you might try focusing only on positive attitudes about that particular toxic coworker. Replace your negative thoughts with positive ones.
Meditation and affirmations can help you to remain calm and focused, and allow you to remain positive despite having difficulties with toxic coworkers. Some problems with counterproductive colleagues may not seem as problematic if you stay positive with regular affirmations.
Leverage these tips for how to deal with a toxic coworker!
Dealing with hazardous materials in the workplace may be difficult. While you may encounter a number of different toxic co-workers each day, it’s not the end of the world. Don’t let them have too much influence over your day or your career.
Manage the things you can, such as how hard you work and how well you communicate with other people. This minimizes the impact of toxic coworkers on your life.
By using these tips for managing toxic colleagues, you can improve your day-to-day experience at work. Do not quit your job to avoid working with toxic people-there is a way to work through these situations.