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Toxic Coworkers : 3 Techniques To Identify Coworkers

toxic coworkers

Toxic coworkers : One toxic employee can wreak havoc and have a negative impact on an entire workplace.

Toxic coworkers not only make work dreadful and unpleasant, but they also harm everyone else’s productivity and morale.

They create unnecessary drama, erode the company’s culture, undermine the company’s values, and sabotage team trust.

3 Ways To Spot A Toxic Coworker And Establish Healthy Boundaries at Work

toxic coworkers

According to a Fierce Inc. study, four out of every five employees are currently working with or have previously worked with a potentially toxic coworker.

According to a study conducted by Randstad, 58 percent of employees have left or are considering leaving their workplace due to negativity, office politics, and disrespectful behaviour.

It’s easier said than done to keep one person’s toxicity from affecting your own work, especially if you have to collaborate closely with them.

Working with a toxic coworker leaves you feeling powerless and depleted.

Furthermore, identifying a toxic coworker can be difficult, especially if you consider them a friend.

It’s possible they’re toxic if you feel drained or down after interacting with them.

Words, body language, disrespecting boundaries, hoarding information, purposefully undermining others, not following through on promises or commitments, insults, and rumours are just a few examples of toxic behaviour.

Employees who have a victim mentality will constantly complain about how much they despise their job, their boss, their coworkers, and the company.

There’s a difference between having a bad day and relishing in inflicting pain on others.

“The more people they can get to share in their discontent, the better they feel,” Dan Bailey, president of WikiLawn Los Angeles Lawn Care, explained.

When given constructive feedback, toxic coworkers will make excuses for their performance, believing it is a personal attack against them, even if they are disengaged. Furthermore, they hold grudges and never miss an opportunity to complain about how they’ve been wronged, even if the situation has been resolved.

Those who are new to a company are more likely to become engulfed in negativity because they are eager to make friends and are unaware of a toxic person’s patterns.

As a result, it’s critical to conduct pulse checks to determine whether this is a cultural or individual issue.

Here are some coping strategies to help you recover from a traumatic encounter and maintain your mental health:

Surround yourself with upbeat coworkers who take ownership of their mistakes and learn from them.

To learn how to better manage the situation and have a safe space to talk about it, seek out your company’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP) or professional help.

Talk to your human resources department and stick to facts rather than a person’s personality.

Prepare to give specific incidents as examples.

  • Include after-work social activities that you can look forward to.
  • Gratitude and meditation are good things to do.
  • They gossip more than they share their knowledge.

Many internal company issues stem from gossip. It spreads quickly and breeds negativity.

“Toxic colleagues drain your energy and are a constant source of demotivation at work,” said Yasir Nawaz, a digital content producer at Pure VPN.

The worst part is that you might not realise you’re working with a toxic colleague until it’s too late.”

“There’s one sure-fire way to identify one,” he continued, “someone who constantly talks behind other people’s backs.”

“Gossip doesn’t help build a stronger team; rather, it tears down teamwork,” Melanie Musson, an insurance specialist for Buy Auto Insurance, stated.

If they gossip to you, they’re probably gossiping about you as well.”

Another sign that a colleague is toxic is if they refuse to share information with you that makes it impossible for you to do your job.

As a former victim of a toxic coworker and boss, I understand the negative impact they can have not only on my work and mental health, but also on the team and the overall workplace.

My former coworker, in my experience, excluded me from meetings, team activities, and withheld information that made it impossible for me to do my job well and then used it against me.

“Toxic people put themselves first,” Musson explained. They don’t care about others and take advantage of others’ misfortunes to advance at work.

If a team member is having difficulty, the toxic coworker may take advantage of the situation to demonstrate how they excel in the same area.”

After a while, I decided to set a boundary with her and began documenting every incident before confronting her.

Then, to find the information I needed, I worked around her and avoided interacting with her altogether.

Be aware that setting healthy boundaries can cause toxic coworkers to retaliate in a negative way.

Those who set healthy boundaries are the happiest and most productive, and those who aren’t used to having boundaries set with them are likely to take offence.

Here are some boundaries you can set with a gossiping coworker:

Empathize with them and direct them to concentrate on what is working or to contact their manager.

When they start gossiping, excuse yourself from the conversation and refuse to participate.

Instead of participating in negative gossip that hurts morale, focus on positive gossip that celebrates others.

Let them know your boundaries and that you don’t like to talk about office politics.

Assemble a group of people who would rather share information than spread rumours.

Use phrases like “this sounds like a rumour and I don’t want to hear it,” “I’d rather engage in positive and uplifting conversations,” or “is that a fact or gossip?” to counter.

Rather than compliments, they use passive aggressive comments.

“Toxic employees are often those who purposefully undermine the capabilities of others so they can stay ahead of their competition,” said Matt Satell, CEO of Prime Mailboxes.

They thrive on pointing out flaws, being negative, and putting people down.

Here are some examples of passive-aggressive comments and behaviours:

  • Giving the silent treatment to someone
  • Using sarcasm or veiled insults as a response
  • Putting the blame on others
  • Rejecting feedback and other people’s points of view
  • Making justifications
  • a pessimistic mindset
  • a sense of superiority

“In my experience, toxic people tend to complain a lot, even when things are going well,” said Nich Chernets, CEO of Data for SEO.

They’re looking for a group of people who will listen to their problems on a regular basis.

These people, in the long run, bring a lot of negativity to the workplace and impose unnecessary burdens on others.”

“As a result, other members of the team are unable to work at full capacity because they are too busy watching their backs,” John Stevenson, marketing specialist at My GRE Exam Preparation, added.

Positive interactions with coworkers, listening to motivational podcasts, and finding the good in your work can all help you cultivate positivity.

When a toxic coworker undermines your abilities and believes their role and contributions are more valuable than everyone else’s, it’s easy to lose motivation.

Here are some ways to remind yourself of your contributions and hard work:

Keep a running record of your accomplishments and victories.

In the running document, copy and paste recognitions from emails, client/manager reviews, and Slack comments.

For a boost of motivation, refer to the document.