Often times, we are working in an environment where we have to work with different types of people who come from different walks of life. There are some co-workers who you learn from, connect with, and can be a source of motivation when you’re just aren’t feeling it on those rough days. Then there’s the other co-workers…the ones who annoy you kill your vibe, and drains your positive energy. You may be thinking that these co-workers are just annoying but they could actually be bringing stress to your work life. These co-workers could be toxic! According to the American Psychological Association, job stress frequently causes burnout, a condition marked by emotional exhaustion and negative or cynical attitudes toward others and yourself. Burnout can lead to depression, which, in turn, has been linked to a variety of other health concerns such as heart disease and stroke, obesity and eating disorders, diabetes, and some forms of cancer.
You may be interacting with toxic co-workers on a daily basis and may not even know it! It’s time to detox your workplace. But you may be wondering who those toxic co-workers could be? As always, I got you! Here are 3 toxic co-workers that you need to avoid:
Now I love me a piping hot cup of tea every now and then but workplace gossip is one cup of tea that you need to keep on the table. That gossiper that always has the “dirt” or “tea” on someone is one co-worker that you need to steer clear of. This is work, not middle school.
How to Handle Them: Next time that co-worker has some tea to spill, kindly let them know that you’re not interested in partaking. Not only can it get you wrapped up in unnecessary drama but it could distract you from what you’re getting paid to do- your job! You don’t want to be associated with spreading false information about someone.
Speaking as an HR Manager, I’ve seen situations where gossip turns someone into receiving their last paycheck. Don’t let a gossiper cost you your coins honey. Get Out!
Do you ever feel like you’ve been drained of all your positive energy after talking to your co-worker? Then that’s them! They are always upset, disgruntled and whining about something that didn’t go their way. They rarely have anything positive to say and want you to hop on the negative train. Bad attitudes and energy is contagious! Before you know it, you could be the complainer that everyone is trying to avoid.
How to Handle Them: You don’t have to necessarily run the other way when you see this person coming but you need to keep the conversation friendly and short. By doing so, you let the co-worker know that you aren’t going to be the one that they can always come to about their problems. While you may not mind lending an ear every now and then, you don’t want to be associated with a person that may already have a bad reputation at work.
Another way that you could handle this co-worker is to send some positive vibes their way. Just like negative energy can be contagious, so can positive energy. Counteract their negative statements with something positive. They will either begin to take your advice or realize that you aren’t going to come to their pity party and leave you alone. Either way, you’re able to improve the situation.
Still, waiting on that reply to the email you sent last week? Or are you constantly waiting on their part of the work to be done so that you can start yours? If yes, then you may have identified your “slacker.” These types of people aren’t reliable and always have some excuse to why the work isn’t done. While it may be difficult if you are required to work with this person, try to avoid them at all costs!
How to Handle Them: If you’re assigned to work with this person but have the option to opt-out, suggest another co-worker that you feel more comfortable working with. Say something like “I know you suggested that I work with [slacker] but [another co-worker] and I collaborate really well as we complement each other’s skill set. Could we work together on this project instead?” By saying this, you aren’t necessarily throwing the other person under the bus. You’re simply making it seem as though you want to achieve the best results for the company.
Another way to handle the slacker is to make sure that you keep everything documented. Send follow up emails and reminders so that if it comes down to you having to prove that the co-worker isn’t doing their job and it’s not you, you’ll have a paper trail as evidence. You may want to also suggest a work-flow system that your manager can easily check the status of how the projects are coming along. That way everything is transparent and the slacker will feel more pressure to actually do their work.
If you feel that your co-workers are creating a toxic environment for you, try to use the tips I suggested. If your annoyance is beyond the point of handling it yourself, you may want to take it a step further by going to your supervisor or Human Resources.
But if you feel that you’ve done all you can and nothing is helping, you may come to realize that the company culture is toxic all together. It may be time to find another job.
Nothing is worth driving you crazy. Reclaim your time and detox your work life by any means necessary!