Don't Let Toxic Coworkers Bring You Down
At work, you may find people who try to climb the ladder no matter the cost. They might even do it at the expense of one or more coworkers. They’re toxic coworkers who’re likely to hide their true intentions since they just want us to see what they want. They interpret their actions in a way they can justify them. For example, “I did it for you”, “I didn’t realize that” or “It’s better that way, now you have more work to do and you’ll get more credit”.
It’s important not to confuse competition between coworkers with actions like lying, manipulating, and cheating. What toxic coworkers want is to flaunt their abilities while making their other coworkers project a bad image. They always see others as competition and use them to reach their own goals.
Sometimes, you encounter certain coworkers who, instead of focusing on their job, focus only on what they want. It’s important to stay away from them if you want to avoid problems in the long run.
We don’t get to choose our coworkers
When we get a new job, we have to learn to deal with the people who work with us. The same thing goes for families since we can’t choose our relatives (even though we’d like to). If we don’t have a good relationship with our coworkers, we won’t enjoy our time at work and the work environment will be anything but pleasant.
It’s best to be prepared so that our relationship with toxic coworkers doesn’t cause us serious problems. These people could cause many problems. One of them is definitely work-related stress.
This type of stress, also known as work stress, is very common in industrialized societies. The increasing pressure in the work environment can exhaust workers both physically and mentally. Likewise, it also has certain consequences that will not only affect the health of the workers, but also the health of their immediate environment.
Work stress emerges when the worker’s resources are threatened by work factors they think they can’t cope with. This manifests in different ways. Its symptomatology ranges from irritability to depression and it also causes physical and/or mental exhaustion.
According to the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work, work stress is the second most common work-related problem. This is due to many reasons. The most common ones are job insecurity, very long shifts, and feeling threatened or intimidated. This is where toxic coworkers come into play.
What are toxic coworkers like?
Let’s take a look at the most distinctive characteristics of toxic coworkers:
- They never share valuable information with other people. They just keep the information to themselves. The only way they’d share it is if they’d benefit from it.
- They’re fake. These people don’t have a problem lying, misrepresenting, or manipulating others.
- They subtly comment and criticize to harm or discredit someone else’s work, especially if they consider them a threat.
- They’ll never be happy for their coworkers’ successes. Instead, they’ll try to bring them down and discredit them.
- Their attitude towards their coworkers is very different than the attitude they portray when talking to important people in the company. During these moments, they’ll do whatever it takes to make a good impression and stand out.
Toxic coworkers know they can’t get promotions by themselves, that they need other people for it. Never underestimate a toxic coworker because they’re a lot more dangerous than what they might seem. They do whatever it takes in order to get what they want, even if it means jeopardizing other people.
It’s vital to be prudent and intelligent when dealing with them. Their attitude is often calm and delicate, making it quite difficult to identify them at first. In fact, their ability to disguise their true intentions is very dangerous.
That’s why it’s easy for toxic coworkers to go unnoticed for long periods of time. Sometimes, they might even become best friends with the rest of the team. They do that in order to gain other people’s trust and use them whenever they need them.
What can we do about them?
Toxic coworkers are neither ethical nor honest. However, as professionals, they might be respected by the bosses and the whole company. Once you’ve detected a toxic coworker in your work environment, you’ll be able to act intelligently to minimize risks. Here are some guidelines that might be useful for you:
- Toxic coworkers want to psychologically destroy other people. In order to do that, they could turn to confrontation. The best thing to do is not to engage in their mind games. Smile at them every time you run into them. That will make them feel confused and disoriented.
- It’s very important not to share valuable information with them. Try not to establish a relationship with them and be careful about what you say when they’re around. Also, it wouldn’t hurt to be attentive of your belongings. You never know!
- There’s strength in numbers. Keep your other coworkers close and rely on them. Let them know about the toxic coworker that’s in disguise. If a toxic coworker finds themselves isolated and rejected, they won’t feel as strong and will decide whether to change their attitude or just leave.
As we’ve seen, toxic coworkers are very unconsidered, bad-intentioned people who try their best to hurt other workers. Ignore them instead of establishing any kind of relationship with them. If you follow the strategies we’ve given you, fighting this battle won’t be difficult.
“If there’s a sense of respect and belief among the people you work with, that’s when good work is done.”