Tips on Dealing with Toxic People in the Workplace
Do you hate your boss?
Okay, hate is a strong word.
So…do you hate your boss? Do you hate a coworker? Do you hate a subordinate?
We often have to deal with people we don’t like in life. It can be especially trying when it’s a person in the workplace that we have to deal with on a regular basis.
The nuclear options of quitting or firing the person are usually not on the table. You have to find a way to maximize a bad situation. We’d like to help you with that.
It should be noted that while these are good tips in general, they aren’t designed for people you just happen to disagree with or don’t like for arbitrary reasons. These are for unreasonable people who are toxic to the detriment of themselves and everyone around them.
All relationships are ‘give and take’. Like it or not, you are in a type of relationship with this person. That means you’re probably going to have to put up with at least some of the negative qualities you don’t like.
That being said, everything has its and everyone has their breaking point. You want to make sure to set up boundaries well before you breaking point is even in sight. The fact that you indulged them even a little bit gives you a leg to stand on.
Make sure that you make your limits known. That way they can’t claim to be caught off guard when you express dissatisfaction with the situation.
Granted, this can be a lot harder (if not impossible) when the offending behavior is coming from a manager or supervisor. It’s still worth trying though. If your boss is so intractable that they are unable to respect reasonable boundaries, it may be time to reassess your situation.
Pick the Right Hill
When someone annoys you, it can be tempting to fight them at every possible turn. Conflict is fuel for conflict. You may even be right every time. The problem is, when you fight and fight, even when you’re right, you can damage yourself and your reputation. By the time you prove you’re right, you may have said or done things you probably shouldn’t.
That isn’t to say that you should never fight. Sometimes it really does matter. What you have to learn to do is pick the right battles. Concession doesn’t feel great, but if victory ends up being pyrrhic, what’s the point?
Only dig in your heels when it truly matters.
Negative people in your life can be challenging. When that’s certainly not a fun thing, it can be a helpful thing. If you can learn to successfully navigate this person while advancing your own career and the success of your company, you will pick up a truckload of skills you may not have had otherwise.
If you ever happen upon someone else like the person that caused you so much trouble, you’ll know exactly how to handle it from the start. Toxic people are usually actively trying to drag you down. Using them to propel yourself forward is the greatest victory over them you could hope for.