Countless individuals dread going to work each day because of one or more bad co-workers. That's not surprising, since a toxic co-worker can leave you feeling stressed, drained and unmotivated, which can make it difficult for you to thrive in your career. If you regularly deal with bad co-workers and can't quit your job, these five tips may help.
1. Don't Take the Behavior Personally
If you're having a hard time fostering a decent relationship with a bad co-worker, you're likely not alone. Toxic individuals usually have difficult relationships with many people in their lives, including long-time associates and family members. Don't take their behavior personally. Continue to perform to the best of your abilities, and never allow a toxic colleague to make you feel inadequate or unworthy of your position.
2. Never Entertain Drama
It's tempting to lend your ear to office drama, but you must resist that temptation at all costs, especially if the source of the information is a bad co-worker. Toxic co-workers usually thrive on negativity. They can't wait to tell others if the boss made a mistake or if someone just got fired. They might even try to grab your attention by speaking of something positive, such as a departmental raise, but don't be fooled, as positive news can quickly turn into gossip when you're dealing with a toxic worker. Make it clear that you're not interested in hearing any information that's not directly related to the task at hand.
3. Physically Avoid Them
Do your best to create a physical distance between you and your toxic colleague. For example, if your colleague eats lunch in the break room each day from 1 to 2 p.m., avoid the break room during that time. Sit as far away from this person as possible during office meetings, and if you see him waiting for the elevator, take the stairs. If you must sit within close proximity to a bad co-worker, rearrange your desk so it's facing a window or wall. The less contact you have with a toxic person, the better.
4. Communicate Important Concerns
Even with one or more bad colleagues, your team can still be productive and effective. Therefore, don't be afraid to communicate any work-related concerns. If the bad co-worker never submits tasks on time, is often late to team meetings or submits sloppy work, let him know that this is unacceptable. While you might be willing to put up with your toxic colleague's scowling face and snarky remarks, you can't ignore actions that hinder the performance of your entire team. If the behavior doesn't change, speak to your boss or someone in human resources.
5. Remain Positive and Kind
Never allow your toxic co-worker's behavior to make you angry. Even if you can't stand this person, try to be pleasant when working with him. Compliment the worker when he does a great job and thank him for his assistance with various projects. If this person is short with you or says something offensive, simply ignore him.
Don't let bad co-workers turn the job of your dreams into a nightmare. If you can't quit your job right away or transfer to another department, these five tips can help you get through each workday without losing your sanity.
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