Stress at work can negatively affect your physical, emotional and mental health. When you have a toxic coworker, the workplace environment becomes contaminated and it is a challenge just to get out of bed and go to work. Every day that you have to face the chaos and drama, created by this toxic coworker, feels like torment. Their response, to almost any situation, is pessimistic and they spend the day mumbling and complaining about everything and everyone. Toxic coworkers love to pull you aside and gossip about management and other coworkers. They put other fellow comrades down, trying to buddy up to you in a manipulative sort of way, that is, unless you are their target. Sometimes, it is even your boss who humiliates you in front of your coworkers and ends up being the toxic coworker. You, most likely, feel helpless and anxious as you struggle through your workday.
Toxic coworkers undermine the effectiveness of those employees working around them. How can you be a dynamic employee when you have to survive in a hostile work environment? Toxic coworkers create toxic workplaces. What does this mean to you? When you are not happy at your job, it affects you personally. Your self-esteem suffers and your emotional health deteriorates. Personal relationships become strained. It negatively impacts your physical health as well. You become susceptible to illness and your immune system weakens dealing with all the stress. What’s worse, is that dealing with a toxic coworker can easily turn you into a toxic coworker. Do you dread going to work when the alarm goes off? Does your energy drain from your body as you walk in the door? Is there negative tension in the air? Do you experience stress in an adverse work environment?
The problem may be that you have a bitter workplace environment caused by a toxic coworker. Some signs that your workplace is toxic are 1) poor communication, 2) policies are not followed or do not exist, 3) ineffective management, 4) negative attitudes resulting in pessimistic complaining and 5) your life outside work suffers on many levels. The results, on a company level, trickle down to employees. High turnover, employee absences, low quality production and unhealthy competition among employees, are just a few. Who wants to work for a company like this? There are things you can do to minimize the effects of a toxic coworker. Learning to address the issues caused by the toxic coworker can counteract the poisonous effects and stop the spread of negativity in the workplace.
“The challenge that many people face when interacting with others is that they lack the necessary interpersonal skills needed to be effective.” – ROBERT W. LUCAS
“Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice.” JAMES 3:13-16
Stop and get quiet. When you get quiet and just breathe slowly, both your nervous and endocrine system calm down. The hormones that feed into frustration and stress are lowered and good feeling hormones are activated. The result is a clearer mindset enabling you to look at the situation more objectively.
Don’t take things personally. The odds are extremely high that this toxic coworker’s behavior is NOT really about you. More than likely, the root cause is completely unrelated. Learn to be objective about the situation. Try not to take it personally. Learn to compartmentalize feelings giving the chaos back to them and owning your inner peace and enthusiasm for your job.
Focus on the positive. Associate with inspirational, supportive coworkers. Motivate yourself with peaceful thoughts. Tune the chaos out by listening to uplifting music. Do not engage in gossip including the subject of the toxic coworker.
take back your identity and find your passion.
taking your control back
When you take control of your life and respond in a healthy, professional manner, your work becomes enjoyable again. You produce quality work that you are proud of. Coworker relationships are mended or saved. You take your identity back and find your passion again. In essence, you give the chaos back to the problem coworker and you keep your peace. It is the same concept when a toddler throws a temper tantrum. Rather then letting the toddler suck you into his chaos, you realize that he needs to work it out alone. You walk away so as not to engage. When the toddler calms down, you reengage and continue whatever project you were working on. Everyone is at peace again. The tension is diverted. When your work depends on their performance, it can become tricky. Still, just ask yourself how you can go forward without engaging in the craziness.
Toxic coworkers can steal your joy and sabotage your work environment. When your work environment becomes unbearable, your physical, mental and emotional health begin to decline and can have serious repercussions. Employees who discover how to handle toxic coworkers, develop important, life-changing people skills. Learning to stop and get quiet, not take things personally and only focus on the positive, creates a healthy work-life balance. Develop your interpersonal skills and grow in the meekness of wisdom. When you focus on these things, your world will not exist in disorder and vile practices. Concentrate on building positive relationships that foster your beliefs and ambition. Building a healthy team environment propels you into the life of a difference maker.
“The chaos doesn’t end, you kinda just become the calm.” – NIKKI ROWE
“It’s all about finding the calm in the chaos.” – DONNA KARAN
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Until next time, Find Your Direction in Your Quiet.