How To Handle A Toxic Coworker

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Every workplace is filled with all different types of personalities. When you put that many people into one space, there’s bound to be some conflict. In fact, Studies have found that 12% of employees leave a job due to problems with co-workers. Since most of our time throughout the week is spent with coworkers, it’s worth considering some better ways to handle a toxic work situation. If you find yourself dealing with a toxic coworker, here are some steps you can take to handle the situation.


1. Understand the problem.

It’s important to figure out exactly what is bothering you about the coworkers behavior. This way, you can know what needs to be done to change it. One good way to track this is to journal every time the coworker does something that irritates you.

2. Make sure you’re not the problem.

If you’re sensing conflict at work, try to put yourself in your colleague’s shoes. Think about how you’re communicating and consider if there’s something that you’re doing that could be propelling the toxic behavior.

3. Seek advice from someone you trust.

Once you understand the problem, seek some advice from a friend that you trust. Sometimes getting a third party perspective on the situation can be helpful.

4. Take action.

If the conflict is not one that is not going to resolve itself, there are several ways to cope. Try to calmly confront your colleague by addressing the issue and asking them how to work together to fix it. Try to avoid going to the boss or HR behind their back as a first approach. Although, if the issues is more serious and related to harassment or abuse, HR would be the appropriate channel. If talking doesn’t fix the problem, it may be time to distance yourself.

5. Counteract negative behavior in a positive way.

When a coworker tries to undermine you, try to counteract it with a positive action, such as giving a compliment. It sounds like the last thing you would want to do, but it can be an effective way to turn things around.


Need advice on how to handle a toxic coworker? Talk to a coach about it.

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