Emotions are contagious and we are all affected by the emotions of people around us especially the people who we are constantly interacting with. The workplace is such an environment and if there are toxic people at work, then going to work might become a stressful experience instead of being a fulfilling one.
Sometimes there are toxic people at work that you just can’t avoid. If you are dealing with one, there are ways to deal with them without having to lose your cool and get into an argument. The first step is by conditioning yourself for what lies ahead before you go to work. This will help ensure that you can use your emotional intelligence to your advantage when dealing with a toxic colleague. The following tips also help you to survive a toxic work mate’s onslaught.
1. Take Care of Yourself First
If you know you will be dealing with some toxic colleagues, then be sure to practice some self love in the morning before you go to work to get yourself into a good mood. If you are feeling good when you come in to work, then they won’t be able to get to you that easily. Having a clear mind and a clear purpose for the day’s work will also keep you from wavering during important meetings or discussions where things can suddenly get heated.
2. Establish Your Boundaries
Keep an emotional distance from toxic people. When you do interact, keep it professional and try not to engage personally. A little banter now and then is fine but don’t get in too deep with discussions that will involve emotional reactions so you don’t get dragged into a personal conversation with a toxic work colleague.
3. Keep Your Physical Distance
One way to establish your boundary is to keep your physical distance from a toxic colleague. Lessen the times that you have to interact with them personally. However, if you just need a quick confirmation, then swinging by the person’s desk to ask a question is still more polite than sending an email. Speak to them if you have to but if not necessary, then use other ways of communication.
4. Be Aware of Your Emotions
Aside from keeping physical distance, you also need to maintain an emotional distance which requires awareness on your part. If you are aware of your own emotional triggers, then it will be easier for you to manage your emotions when somebody pushes your buttons. If the situations arises, regroup and give yourself time to think things over instead of reacting to the situation.
5. Focus on Solutions
When dealing with toxic people, focus on solutions instead of the emotional situation. Identify the problems and then think of the best way to move forward instead of dwelling on the problems. When you have calmed down, plan your response, communicate it clearly and firmly and then move on.
6. Rise Above the Situation
Toxic people aren’t really considering your feelings when they complain or bother you with their issues. Don’t waste your time and energy appealing to their compassionate side or asking them to change their opinion thru a reasonable conversation. Be firm about your decision and don’t engage in the emotional drama.
7. Learn to Put Your Foot Down
When push come to shove, learn to put your foot down. If a toxic colleague is hounding you at work and it will affect your performance, don’t just sit back and take it. Be firm and clear in asserting yourself. Escalate the situation to a higher up if you have to but don’t get bogged down by the theatrics.
8. Squash Negative Self Talk
We usually feel negatively after interacting with or confronting a toxic colleague and negative self-talk starts to surface. Stop it in its tracks. Take deep breaths and calm your mind instead; meditate if you have to. Seek the support of other colleagues who understand the situation to help give you a more balanced perspective on the situation.
9. Focus on The Positive
Aside from squashing negative self-talk, assess the situation and try to see the positive side of things. What new thing did you learn about yourself? How could you have improved your reaction to the situation? What lesson can be learned from what happened? These are just some questions to ask yourself instead of focusing on the negative emotions you are feeling.
10. Get Them Out of Your Head
At the end of the day, that toxic person is just a colleague at work so once you leave work, leave them out of your head. Limit caffeine intake during the day as it can easily trigger your body’s flight-or-fight response. Get enough sleep so you wake up with a good vibe and you can maintain the positive vibe throughout the day.
These are just some tips to help you survive the workplace while having to deal with a toxic colleague. If you have been in such a situation, how did you deal with your toxic work mate?