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The Top 5: Strategies for Dealing with Toxic Coworkers
Tips from the trenches to keep your copier career on track
How to Cope with Toxic Coworkers
Got some toxic coworkers whose bad behavior is bringing you down? Here are a few tips to help you maintain your sanity:
- Focus on what you can control. We can’t control other people’s behavior. However, we can control our own reactions. Instead of dwelling on your coworker’s negativity, follow Disney Queen Elsa’s advice and “Let It Go.” Or if you don’t share the same musical taste as every toddler in America, take a cue from Eleanor Roosevelt instead: “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”
- Get away. If possible, avoid sharing workspace with a toxic coworker. It can be difficult to re-arrange working areas, especially in smaller offices, but it’s certainly worth a try.
- Don’t get sucked in. “At some point, the negative person will complain about something that resonates with you,” says corporate relationship expert Tony Chatman. Avoid the temptation to join in. Negativity is contagious, and it’s easy to get caught in a cycle of pointless complaining.
- Dig deeper. Is the person you see as “toxic” truly a toxic, negative person, or is something circumstantial causing them to act out?“ Check out what you thought you saw or heard so space doesn’t get filled with hurt feelings, anger, and resentment,” says Elayne Savage, author of Don’t Take It Personally! The Art of Dealing with Rejection. “Something on the order of, ‘This is what I heard you say. Is it what you meant?’ can work wonders.”
- Bring serious concerns to management. The best route is to deal with your coworker directly first. However, if your concerns are serious and you have reason to believe the person’s attitude or behavior is damaging to the company, it may be worth bringing it to management’s attention.