Toxic employees understand how to take advantage of others. They can verbally escalate any discussion to that point which will make you walk away mad. You know it’s coming but for some reason you fall for it every time.
- Thinking you can out-toxic them. Forget it
- Thinking it’s about you. This is what they do to people around them. You happen to be the victim of the moment
- Thinking because it’s unfair it needs to stop. No question that it is unfair. No one thinks abuse and intimidation is fair. But they’re not driven by a code of fairness. It’s more like a code of it’s-all-about-me. The problem is they are good at staying below the radar. It’s complicated to terminate them.
Unless you’re the supervisor, you don’t have the power to stop it all together. You can, however, control your behavior and how you see it. Here is a mental reframe to help you stay grounded, healthy and productive at work.
Five quick tips – think of it this way
- It’s not me – you know they do this to others. If you’re insecure get some help to feel better about yourself but don’t let this toxic person make you feel like any of this is your fault.
- It’s not everything – the more your job is everything in your life, the more this person will get under your skin. Develop a full and rewarding life where work is only a part – hobbies, activities, interests will make this seem less important.
- Don’t power struggle – there’s an Al-anon expression that you “don’t go to every fight you’re invited to!” Resist the temptation to set yourself up to lose a power struggle. Don’t start.
- Use a friendly voice – tone of voice is something toxic people read immediately. If you start there, you’re done. Start and end with a friendly voice. It costs you nothing.
- Talk about what is happening – “So, I came and asked you for a training file and though I’m the trainer you’re saying I can’t have it because it’s Tuesday. Hmmm, okay. I’ll let the VP know your reasoning. Have a nice day (friendly voice).” Walk away while they try to have the last word.