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My Coworker Is Toxic! How do I handle this?

Tantowi grew up drawing and designing. Now she makes videos for a living and loves every second of it.

Toxic coworkers are a drain on happiness, productivity and morale.

Toxic coworkers are a drain on happiness, productivity and morale.

Have you ever worked at a job with a toxic coworker? That’s someone who is the opposite of a teammate, and it’s not fun to deal with them. They can make your day worse and turn your entire workday stressful.

I understand that working in an office can be challenging. You spend eight hours a day with the same people, five days a week. Stress can manifest as anger and toxicity toward you and your work. Often they are your toxic superiors or colleagues you have to deal with.

What do you do when your workmates are toxic? If you believe that your environment is toxic, how can you protect yourself? This article will provide some ideas on what to do when it comes to facing these types of problems.

What Is a Toxic Coworker?

A Toxic Coworker is an individual who belittles, harasses, and manipulates others. They could be a manager, co-worker, or simply another employee under the authority of an employee such as a boss. They don’t care about your feelings and want to get ahead at any price. A person like this makes working more irritable and uncomfortable. They might put you off certain projects. In the end, this hurts your career growth.

A toxic coworker is someone who regularly does negative things to help themselves feel better about their own work. This could be gossiping about other people in the office, shagging on emails or generally being an annoying little s**t. Basically, anything they can do to get themselves off the hook of other people who are putting in hard work to do things right.

Observation

Toxic coworkers cannot always be identified. Even the most emotionally stable person finds it difficult to tell when they are being toxic. Toxicities come in many forms and manifest themselves in many ways. The term toxic coworker refers to an employer who continually undermines your efforts or interests at work, despite your efforts to fix the situation. An employee frequently provokes feelings of anger, irritation, and resentment in others and creates a toxic work environment for everyone else. Most toxic individuals hide their toxicity behind a mask of happy-go-lucky employee personality.

Make Sure You Aren’t Actually the Toxic One

You must be aware of how you treat your coworkers and at work. Do not try to figure out who the toxic coworkers are, but then you discover that you are toxic yourself. You have to constantly evaluate your behavior and how you treat your coworkers.

You may make your coworkers fear becoming successful if you have toxic behavior. A toxic behavior includes being rude and disrespectful towards others. Being argumentative and disruptive. Discussing office politics. Stealing from coworkers. People who repeatedly engage in questionable behaviors such as lying, stealing, cheating, or even assaulting others often display a toxic combination of personality traits. Make sure you don't be a toxic employee!

Make sure You Know If They Are Toxic or Just Misunderstood

Just because you have a bad experience with someone doesn't mean they are toxic. Taking a step back, clearing our heads, and evaluating the situation sometimes becomes necessary in life. By misinterpreting toxic behavior, misunderstandings, errors, etc, we are prone to making poor decisions.

Sometimes coworker toxicity is so prevalent it becomes a joke. On the other hand, coworkers can also be very helpful and loyal until the end of the line. It's always important to check in with yourself and decide if your coworker's behavior is causing you harm or if they're just misunderstood. Is your time with them productive? Is everyone at work happy? Does he/she help you in your career and work? The answer to any of these questions is yes, so you don't have to worry about coworker toxicity.

When a coworker is a bad culture fit, the entire workplace suffers.

When a coworker is a bad culture fit, the entire workplace suffers.

Have a one-on-one conversation

When a coworker is toxic, you should either try and get them to improve or otherwise get them to stop being toxic. You can't "just get along" with someone who is harming others, after all. If their behavior seems like it's directed at you, maybe it's because they've decided to take out their frustrations with other coworkers on you. Ideally, you should try speaking with the person one-on-one and observing how they treat others about the way they treat you.

Don't let arguments and conflicts escalate. Even if the coworker is problematic, these types of situations can lead to lost productivity and even harassment reports if they are not addressed immediately. Learn about your coworker's strengths and areas where they can improve. It is especially important to maintain good relationships with your coworkers when you work for an organization with high employee turnover (like startups).

You might be out of line if you've never talked to your colleague about his behavior, or if he doesn't know you feel offended by his actions. Start the conversation by indicating how much you value him as an employee and your personal friend. Then, explain how you feel violated when he shares information with others that you'd rather keep private. Remember that confrontation is always difficult for some people, so always be kind and listen well.

Find a Way to Frame Your Feedback as Constructive Criticism, Not as an Attack

If you work with someone toxic (whether online or in-person), there are several steps you can take to defuse the situation. You should not take the blame for what someone else does or says; assume they are having a bad day and are reacting without thinking. If you want a positive and productive conversation, make sure you frame your feedback as constructive criticism, not as an attack.

Communication is key in any relationship. Your co-workers may not realize how hurt you are, which can lead to resentment. We often say rude things to our coworkers when we feel disappointed, so we may speak harshly to them. This is why you must acknowledge these feelings and communicate them calmly to your co-workers so that they can understand. This means you are trying to find common ground so that you can move forward and work together better.

Think About How You Can Rework the Relationship

The majority of toxic coworkers are manipulative and entitled. They expect you to perform at your level and will use their position to browbeat you into submission. On the other hand, some toxic coworkers are actually hurting you and hurting your team. Then you need to act. It is possible to repair toxic relationships and improve workplace conditions. Finding the source of the toxicity and taking concrete action is crucial. Even though it's difficult, you should at least try. Consider how you can rework your relationship with your toxic coworker. Explain to him/her what it would be like to have harmonies as a colleague. Working together, we can support one another's careers. Your personal and professional lives will both improve automatically. It won't be easy (and you may need patience) to get your toxic coworker to change for the better.

If No Change, Go to Human Resources

Sometimes it’s just not possible to get your toxic coworker to like you. This can happen if they have a lot of pride, or if they think they are better than everyone else. Maybe you have tried a lot of ways to talk to your toxic coworker. You have explained to them about the toxic environment in the office and how their actions negatively affect the performance of the work team or carer. Yet they are still unwilling to cooperate, will not change their behavior, and do not understand. For there to be any consequences for their actions, it must be reported to Human Resources whether you like it or not.


Toxic co-workers are the biggest problem for many people who have had negative experiences with them. In their behavior and attitudes, they cause resentment and problems. They can also cause sabotage of any relationship or friendship if left unchecked. Realize that they are not perfect and may not even reflect your viewpoints or values. This is why it is important to communicate with them. To work comfortably in a workplace, you must learn how toxic coworkers behave towards one another, so you can identify their true character and deal with them more effectively.


This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2021 Tantowi Gilang

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