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3 Ways to Deal With Toxic Coworkers


It’s a fact of life that you won’t see eye to eye with everyone. There’s nothing wrong with a little disagreement in the workplace, and debate can bring about better results and processes.

toxic coworkers
Image Credit: HaPe_Gera/Flickr

Every now and then, however, you might run into someone who goes beyond disagreeable. If a person is unhappy in their job, this might manifest in overall unpleasantness that can drag you down and make the workday a little more difficult than it needs to be. Here are three ways to make it much more bearable to interact with toxic coworkers.

Don’t Take it Personally

Remember, above anything else, that this kind of negativity is not about you. It’s about the people themselves, and you are unlikely to be the only coworker experiencing it. Don’t try to make excuses for them in your mind, but deal with the behavior at face value.

Do You Know What You're Worth?

You can cause yourself unnecessary stress by worrying about what you did or said that created such a response. Instead, focus on contributing the best work that you can and allow others to be responsible for their own actions.

Build Bridges With Positive People

Rather than focus on those who are constantly playing devil’s advocate, or taking credit for others’ ideas, try to connect with colleagues who are a positive influence on your days in the office. The more you strengthen relationships that are friendly, genuine, and beneficial, the less you’ll worry about those that are difficult and taxing.

Be mindful, though, of the temptation to gossip with your newfound work friend. Professionalism is the best strategy, and simply venting to someone else instead of directly addressing an issue can cause more problems than it solves.

Speak Up If There’s a Real Problem

There’s unpleasantness, and then there’s actual bullying and harassment that should be unacceptable in any workplace. Don’t be afraid of talking to a manager or an HR rep if you feel unsafe or consistently intimidated when trying to simply get your work done.

Sometimes, even the most diligent manager won’t spot an issue unless they’re approached about it. Don’t leave it to fester, but instead present the problem professionally and neutrally. A competent manager will strive to find solutions that will allow you to be a productive and happy employee.

Tell Us What You Think

Have you ever had to interact with a toxic coworker? How did you approach the situation? Tell us in the comments or join the discussion on Twitter.

Kirsty Wareing
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