No workplace is perfect. In a typical work environment, you will encounter the negative, the super-competitive, the nagging, the mean-spirited, and other kinds of toxic people. And if you don’t know the perfect ways to handle toxic people, they can make your work life miserable.
In this article, you will learn how you can handle toxic people at work without being unproductive.
In reality, you can’t do away with toxic people in the workplace. They are everywhere – from the gossipy next desk colleague to the pessimistic team member and the rude secretary, it’s almost impossible to avoid these people at work.
And if you don’t find a way to handle toxic people at work, they tend to undermine, sabotage, or carry out any other action that could affect your team’s output.
So, here are 5 ways to handle toxic people at work;
#1. Personal Power Check
When you are working with toxic people with all sorts of motives, always remember that nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent.
I know you can’t control how people around you act or behave. But you indeed can control how you react to them.
So, try as much as possible not to think about their actions. If you do, you will end up being unproductive because you are spending your productive time thinking about what someone else is doing.
If you react too much to toxic people, their actions tend to affect you. And you may end up seeking their validation anytime you take decisions. If it lingers for a while, you may end up losing confidence in yourself.
But one of the most proactive ways to handle toxic people is to be emotionless when reacting to them.
Always remind yourself that it’s in their nature to nag, be negative, criticize, and gossip. So, don’t allow their actions and activities to upset you.
#2. Distance yourself
The more you distance yourself from toxic people at work, the better for you. I know it may not be possible to put physical distance between you and toxic people, especially if you share a workspace. But you have to try.
If you can’t distance yourself physically, try to distance yourself emotionally and mentally. You can possibly wear headphones at your desk if your organization allows it.
Playing music with your headphone is an excellent way to tune out toxic people mentally and emotionally.
Even if you aren’t playing music, wear It. People may not want to interrupt you when you are on headphones.
During lunch breaks, stay away from them. If possible, take your lunch outside the office. You can go to a nearby park or go for a walk, just to stay away from toxic people for a while.
#3. Set Boundaries
Setting boundaries is one of the best ways to handle toxic people at work. Whenever you are working in an environment, it’s essential to set boundaries.
Make your boundaries clear to everybody around you. And once a toxic person tries to cross your boundaries by being abusive or unprofessional, don’t hesitate to make a formal complaint.
Taking actions against people who crossed your boundaries will make toxic people stay away from you.
But don’t take it personally. Just complain when you perceive unprofessional behavior.
In your complaints, make it clear the work rules the person has violated and how it affects your productivity.
Of course, they may be consequences. Some staff may start avoiding you. But the few ones who have the same mindset as you will applaud you.
#4. Let them Act Out
Sometimes it’s not a good idea to completely block out toxic people. I understand you need your distance and really need to set your boundaries.
But you guys are still teammates. That means, at some level, you will need to cooperate to achieve expected results.
So, one of the ways to handle toxic people at work is to let them act out. Allow them to share their ideas (even if they don’t make sense), contribute their input to the product, and try not to interrupt them.
What I’m trying to say, in essence, is that you should allow the toxic people in your team to have their say. It could be an opportunity for them to reveal their toxicity to every other member of the team.
If you try to shut out toxic people because of their nature, you may be accused of being unnecessarily difficult.
So, even though toxic people are so annoying, try to give them the respect they deserve in the team.
Don’t allow your perception of toxic people to affect the job. If you do, that makes you completely unprofessional.
#5. Surround Yourself with Positive People
Sometimes, one of the most strategic ways to handle toxic people is to counterstrike. I mean, you should embrace positivity.
Once you realize that there are many energy-sucking negative and toxic people in your workspace, try to surround yourself with positive people.
These positive people will not only lift you up; they will always give you the energy you need to be productive.
Aligning with soul uplifting and positive people is an excellent counterbalance to toxicity. So, make a conscious effort to surround yourself with fun, happy, and constructive people. They will make your work life much easier.
These are some of the ways to handle toxic people in the workplace.
If you are working with toxic people, constantly evaluate your thoughts. Take note of what you think when you are alone. And if they are negative thoughts, try to replace them with positive things.