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Stop Doing These 3 Toxic Things at Work


Some work behavior is poisonous to your career. Do certain things and act in certain ways, and you’ll not only tank your own chances at promotion — you’ll destroy the productivity and job satisfaction of those around you, as well. Here’s what you need to stop doing, right away, to get ahead without destroying your social capital with your colleagues.


(Photo Credit: HaPe_Gera/Flickr)

1. Assume it’s all about you.

Do You Know What You're Worth?

“People are toxic to be around when they believe that everything that happens in life is a direct assault on them or is in some way all about them,” writes Kathy Caprino at LinkedIn. “The reality is that what people say and do to you is much more about them, than you. People’s reactions to you are about their filters, and their perspectives, wounds and experiences. Whether people think you’re amazing, or believe you’re the worst, again, it’s more about them. “

2. Take credit for work that isn’t your own.

Remember the classic 1980s workplace comedy Working Girl? Sigourney Weaver’s character takes credit for Melanie Griffith’s work, and winds up getting fired. As well she should have. Not only was she a monster on the interpersonal relationship level, but she was terrible at her job, even in the corporate raider, go-go-go atmosphere of the ’80s.

Why was she bad at her job? Because when workers steal their colleagues’ ideas, they not only show that they’re not able to think up their own. They also cut off their team from real contact with the person who actually made the plan in the first place. In short, it’s not just bad karma: it’s a waste of everyone’s time.

3. Think negatively.

It’s easy to get into less-than-positive thought patterns, especially when things are stressful at work. The problem is that negative thinking can be a self-fulfilling prophecy. Plus, once you get into the habit of expecting everything to go wrong, it’s hard to get out of it. And that means that it’s easy to overlook opportunity when it arrives.

Tell Us What You Think

What’s the worst toxic behavior you’ve ever seen at work? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.

Jen Hubley Luckwaldt
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