Sometimes we all need a good moan. Like everyone, I have stood in the kitchen and really let off steam about something or other that was really irritating me. The truth is though that I, like most people, actually rather enjoy what I do. I genuinely look forward to coming to work where I spend my day with a great team and deal with some brilliant clients. Yet, I still need that moan now and again because we all do. I think it probably even does us good to have a bit of a rant now and again because, let’s face it, if we were upbeat, cheerful and totally positive all the time, we wouldn’t be human.
That said, there is a line where the natural need for a bit of a whinge becomes a problem. I am sure you have met the occasional person who steps over that line and becomes a toxic influence in a workplace. When that happens it can be difficult to deal with because our natural inclination is to support the people around us and offer a sympathetic ear. However toxicity can spread and if you allow it to, it can easily turn that happy experience of coming to work into a less than happy one. In the workplace it is usually impossible to avoid them so you need to find a way of dealing with it.
Just to clarify what we mean, a toxic personality will often do the following:
- Hover in communal places looking for someone to share their negative attitude with.
- Bring far too much of their home life into the workplace and it is never the nice things.
- Disagree with management and colleague decisions but not offer an alternative. Worse still, this is often done without the knowledge of the person they criticise.
- Frequently look to others for constant emotional or critical support.
- Occasionally become bullies and force others around them to behave in the same way as they do.
I am sure you have come across someone like that so here are 5 tips for dealing with that toxic person to avoid letting them affect your well being.
- Confront them with positivity. Try being positive in response to their negative. Often they will either decide you are not going to be supportive and stop trying to bring you in to their worldview.
- Remember it is them not you. The danger is that you start to feel negative so always remember that they are the ones being toxic not you and stay out of their emotional state and in your own.
- Speak to someone. While you may initially feel like you are telling tales out of school, speaking to the manager of the person may be the best option. Often toxic personality issues are a result of a need for a little focus on them to make them feel part of the team. Their manager may not even be aware of how they feel.
- Praise and congratulate. Often negativity comes out of not feeling worthwhile. A little pat on the back and a ‘great job’ can go a long way to turning it around. Be careful not to over do it though but just recognise the good stuff.
- Create boundaries and stay in them. Start saying no, it is difficult, but the response of “sorry I am working” or “perhaps you should take that up with someone else” will sometimes be your only resort. It is simply not fair of the person to change your daily life so don’t let them by rejecting their invitations to tittle-tattle.
If all else fails you may need to put in a complaint (this is a must if the complaining and toxicity becomes threatening) but for the most part put up a few clear boundaries, don’t get involved and you will find the person moves on to another target.
The really important thing is not to allow the attitude to spread to you. Whatever else you do be aware of the potential for you to become the toxic person yourself because it all starts somewhere.
Fortunately we have a great team here at Back Office Support Services and I couldn’t be happier at work.
I still enjoy the occasional moan though – I think we all deserve one now and again.