Many of us take it for granted when our workplaces are pleasant places to be during the day. We have colleagues we respect and enjoy, and who respect and appreciate us in return. But there is an unlucky minority who may love what they do, but not with whom they work.
Working with “toxic” colleagues is a problem many of us face. These people make the office feel like an unhealthy and unhappy place to be, and can often sabotage an otherwise productive work environment. You know the type—always complaining, taking credit for the work of others, spreading gossip and not being a team-player.
There are a variety of ways of coping with negative coworkers, some less controversial than others. You need not out them to your boss just yet—try these tactics to start.
Talk to your coworker. The simplest way to let them know that what they are doing is unproductive is to talk to them. A conversation where you point out specific examples of their behavior and its effect on the team may be enough to get them to modify their ways.
Ignore the behavior. Sometimes obnoxious acts derive from someone needing attention. If you don’t acknowledge the colleague (like you would a whiny child), their behavior will change once they realize they are not getting what they want from you.
Enlist help. If neither of the above is successful, your next step is enlisting your manager and/or human resources department. If possible, have as much in writing as possible. Bring e-mails, memos or anything else that can support your claims that the toxic environment is hurting productivity. For most companies, efficiency is the bottom line; your words will be appreciated if this colleague is undermining the ability to do business.
Don’t dwell on negatives. Most importantly, be good to yourself outside of the workplace. Spend time with friends and family, and make your weekends a time to de-stress, relax and have fun.