How to deal with a toxic co-worker


In most circumstances Covid-19 has been an opportunity for people to support each other. However, this might not always be the case. Your job should be enriching and a positive space. It can be a shame when you work with someone who doesn’t feel that way. At Smart Girl Tribe we promote positivity, so here is a curated list of tools to defuse situations with a toxic co-worker.

You would think that being able to avoid someone else’s negativity would be easy. You have enough to be getting on with at work without having to be influenced by someone else’s toxic behaviour. Sometimes it can be really hard rise above someone else’s behaviour, but by doing this you begin to create a boundary.

Do not let the negativity affect your work, remember that you are in a professional setting. It cannot be the place where you have conflict, it needs to be the space where you feel productive and challenged.

Have a conversation with them. If they are not taking hints and are not respecting the boundaries that you are putting in place then try and take this toxic co-worker aside to have a chat. This might not always go the way that you want. However as long as you remain calm and neutral you will get the satisfaction of being the bigger person.

Have some concrete coping strategies in place. Make sure that you have some coping strategies. For instance, step away and take 10 deep breaths, write down the things that are upsetting you and make sure that you are trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Have so many hobbies lifting you up that you don’t even have the time to think about the toxic co-worker.

If necessary, speak to your boss or someone in HR. If you really feel that you are getting nowhere with this toxic co-worker, speak to someone. Make sure you have exhausted all your other options; you’ve tried rising above it and not letting the negativity consume you, you’ve tried to have a conversation with them and your coping strategies feel like they’re getting you nowhere. The last option is to speak to someone in HR, a manager or your boss. These repeated situations can ultimately affect their business, so it is something that they need to be made aware of.

It is important that you’re protecting yourself. You can do this by recording the time and date of any incidents to outline what has happened. When having a conversation with this co-worker make sure someone else is in the room.

We are sorry to know that you might be having to deal with a toxic co-worker. Bullying is always unacceptable, if you need please call 0845 22 55 787 for further assistance and support. 

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