If you have been in the workforce for a long time, you will probably come into contact with difficult or toxic colleagues. Maybe you are dealing with it now.
Toxic colleagues come in many forms. There are harassers, bullies, manipulators, gossip, and negative Nelly’s. Perhaps there are additional examples of the people I met at work.
The stress of dealing with toxic colleagues has a measurable impact on workplace health and productivity. These adverse effects include:
- Decreased work satisfaction
- Not playing your role well
- Increased stress
- Deterioration of mental health
Toxic people at work can prevent you from reaching your potential because of the way they reduce your productivity and increase your level of stress. They work in dangerous places that can hurt your mental health. So how do you protect yourself from the very real effects of your toxic colleagues?
Here are six strategies:
Form friendships with positive people in the office. Forming an alliance can greatly help counteract the negative effects of toxic colleagues. It reminds you that you are not alone, there are many people on your side, only one who is not.
You don’t have to talk to them about difficult people, or we don’t recommend it. If you complain, you just keep getting caught up in the pattern that the person takes up too much space in your head. Instead, spend time with others, forgetting bad apples and refreshing.
2Don’t get hooked
We will do our best to remain neutral in dealing with our colleagues. Do not feed when they provoke an emotional reaction to you. Instead, choose to rise beyond their tactics and refuse to lower themselves to their level.
In many cases, confronting an office bully will backfire on you, but there are other ways to set boundaries with people who are difficult at work. It may be as easy as saying you are too busy to engage now.
Your body language also acts as “do not disturb” Code. You can turn your back when they get close, avoid eye contact, or put on headphones to indicate that you can’t talk.
If the canteen is where people gossip or complain about their work, eat lunch outdoors or elsewhere. If you like exercising, you can go for a walk, and if you don’t, you can go to a gym session to get the opportunity to exercise.
FourPractice good self-care
Dealing with toxic colleagues can disrupt sleep, but we will do our best to get 7-8 hours at night. After a good night’s sleep, there is less tendency for someone to melt it. What’s more, rest is an integral part of a healthy lifestyle and keeps you physically and mentally strong.
Instead of watching Netflix at a glance at night, build your confidence and balance your life with your hobbies and personal interests.
Be sure to take a vacation, not a pile of vacations. Escaping to reset and recharge reminds you that you have relationships with life outside of work.
Mindfulness helps you stay focused in the current moment and achieve a more mental focus. It keeps your mind healthy, reduces stress and prepares you to deal with the aversion of toxic colleagues.
Mindfulness can take many forms, such as taking a deep breath, a body scan, or sitting with your thoughts for a few minutes. The important thing is to avoid judging those thoughts and simply observe them. There is no perfect way to meditate, so find the one that works best for you.
6Focus on the solution
Lose the loop’s thoughts on things you can’t control, such as the behavior of your colleagues, and pay attention to what you can do to improve your experience. Instead of ruminating the behavior of toxic people, we will deal with them and come up with solutions to maintain your own mental health.
Stop trying to understand why your colleagues behave like them. Such people lack the compassion and empathy of our people who act in good faith. They are not interested in real relationships, they just use people to achieve their own goals.
Tell yourself the true story that they are anxious and unhappy and that nothing you do or say is likely to tell them. Unlike toxic friends and family, you cannot be completely separated from your colleagues. However, you can improve your thinking and deal with the situation so that it does not adversely affect your work performance or mental health.
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Laura K. Connell is the author of “It’s Not Your Fault: Subconscious Reasons We Self-Sabotage and How to Stop”. Her work has been published in Chicken Soup for the Soul, Choosing the Brain, Self-Development Blog, The Globe and Mail, Toronto Star and more.