Toxic people have a way of taking a good situation and making it bad. You can find people like this everywhere, from your family members, to members of your friend group, or people you work with. It’s important, when dealing with toxic people that you do it correctly, otherwise things can go from bad to worse. If you have a problematic co-worker that keeps displaying toxic behavior, use these five tips to help you deal with them.
1. Have a Conversation
Communication is key in any relationship you find yourself in, and it’s the same with your co-worker. If you don’t have a conversation with them about their behavior, there will be no chance for change. They might not realize their behavior is toxic or destructive, and even if they do, they’re not going to wake up one day and magically change their behavior. A conversation is necessary. During this conversation, you should be kind and calm. Yelling at them is the fastest way to ensure they don’t listen to you. You should be careful casting blame. Use ‘I’ statements to show how their behavior makes you feel vs ‘you’ statements that make them feel attacked and disliked. It’s also important that you point out specific behaviors. Don’t generalize too much or they might not understand what it is about their behavior that bothers you so much. Trying to resolve the issue between the two of you should always be your first step.
2. Focus on What You Can Control
If you have a conversation with your co-worker and they’re still behaving poorly, try focusing on what you can control instead of the things you can’t, like their behavior. Focus on your own behavior and productivity. Spend more time with coworkers that you enjoy being around, and try to ignore your toxic co-worker’s behavior. Come in to work every day determined to do your best and stay positive. No one can control what happens in life, but you can control how you respond to it.
3. Don’t Gossip
It can be tempting to talk badly about your co-worker behind their back if they continue to behave poorly after your conversation, but you should avoid the temptation. Talking about someone behind their back will only make the situation worse. You don’t want to create a divide in your team, and you also don’t want your co-worker learning that you’re talking badly about them. And they will definitely hear about it at some point from someone. Bad-mouthing others, especially people you have to see on a daily basis, is a recipe for trouble and can take an already hostile situation and make it unbreakable.
4. Discuss the Issue With Your Boss
If the situation escalates, and you simply can’t ignore it anymore, it’s time to talk to your boss. Remember to be mature and professional when you have this discussion. You shouldn’t sound like you’re whining or complaining about someone else. You need to present it to your boss as a work issue that is affecting productivity and team morale, not as a petty fight. You might suggest having a team meeting. A team meeting will provide your boss with the opportunity to discuss the issue at hand without pointing fingers directly.
5. Prioritize Your Mental Health
It’s vitally important that you don’t let your job destroy your mental health. Your career is important, but it’s not worth sacrificing your well-being over. If, after you’ve exhausted all other options, things are still unbearable between you and your co-worker, you have two options. You can go to HR and file a formal complaint, or you can leave your job in search of another. Both of these are drastic decisions and shouldn’t be taken lightly. If you love your job and don’t want to leave, going to HR is within your rights. What happens after your complaint is made is out of your hands, but at least you’ll know that you’ve done everything you could. If you feel that your work environment is too toxic and you think you could find happiness and fulfillment elsewhere, it might be time to update your resume. Regardless of what you decide, know that doing what’s best for your mental health is the right choice.
You shouldn’t dread going to work everyday. And you definitely shouldn’t spend your time being mistreated. If you have a toxic co-worker, take these steps to find a solution that will make going to work an enjoyable experience.