5 signs your coworkers are toxic

Don't fall prey to this tactic

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Some know that they are toxic while others have mastered the art of how to displace their dysfunctional behaviors onto those around them.

Typically they are very good at what they do and can often influence the most sound minded person to question their own motives and behavior.

Toxic people have almost always have a long-standing history of conflict, discord, and turbulence in their lives which has gone unacknowledged and/or unaddressed.

There are differences between being a toxic person and having a bad day. Everyone has a bad day and may act out as a result. Toxic people, however, have a long standing pattern of dysfunctional behavior.

We come across these people in every area of our lives but when we have to deal with them at work, it is critical that we understand their behavior so we don't get caught up their games.

Below are five signs that you are dealing with a toxic co-worker and what you can do about it:

If you begin to evaluate every interaction with this person or rehashing your interactions with them or wondering often if you are the problem, the toxic coworker is in your head. There is little more that would excite them than to know that they have gotten to you and they are now living rent free in your head consuming your thoughts.

Solution: Pay attention to your thoughts and redirect them. Do not engage in gossip about the person or try to get another coworker's perspective. Focus on you, your thoughts, your behaviors, and work on centering yourself so you can be your best you at work.

Toxic people like to make us think we are the ones in the wrong. Oftentimes they lack self-awareness and truly believe this. If they can get us to buy into that and apologize they feel vindicated. Many of us like to keep the peace at work and do our best to avoid conflict so we will apologize to push that peaceful balance along. In my opinion most people need to learn to be better at apologizing but this doesn't mean accepting blame when you are not at fault.

Solution: Keep your behavior in check at all times. Apologize when you are wrong but don't take ownership of someone else's issues. You can choose some pacifying statements such as, "I am sorry your felt hurt by that" or "I hate that you are so upset over this" which can convey empathy without ownership.

When dealing with a toxic person it is common to feel like you are walking on eggshells afraid to say or do the wrong thing that will either set them off or make you the target of their antics. When you find yourself choosing your words and actions carefully to avoid offending someone to the point it makes you uncomfortable, this is a problem.

Solution: As you would with anyone, be kind but be you. You aren't responsible for another person's reaction to what you say. If you feel it needs to be said, say it with the right intentions and let the reaction go.

When a relationship is toxic it will easily take the wind out of your sails. Sometimes just the mere mention of the person's name can spike your blood pressure. You may find yourself avoiding interacting with this person or dreading any interaction you have with them and always preparing for the worst in every encounter.

Solution: Maintain perspective. This is key to your own ability to thrive in your environment. Try talking to the higher ups but come with solutions in hand of how you think the situation can be better managed. This shouldn't include firing someone (unless you are in a decision making position) but should be aimed at how can we all work together for the better good of the department and/or organization.

Toxic people can turn on the charm to manipulate others in clever and convincing ways. Although you continuously have issues with this person and you observe others having issues, you see the toxic coworker interacting in a seemingly positive manner with others and begin to question if you are the problem. They may even try to bait you into thinking you are the problem with such phrases as; Why are you so upset or you are so sensitive. This leaves you feeling as if YOU have done something wrong.

Solution: Don't fall prey to this tactic. Deal with the behavior as it is. Don't make excuses for them, don't take ownership of their behavior, and don't engage with them. The best solution is to shake your head and walk away. I have even said, "I am not going to play this game with you" and then walked away ignoring whatever they said after.

How is it that toxic people are so clever in making other people around them believe that they are the problem or at a minimum at least question it? There are several tactics that work wonderfully for them but the most common are:

In conclusion, we are only responsible for our own actions and reactions but we are also responsible for our own happiness and peace so we must fight for that. It is a process of being accountable for that and not allowing another person to rob us of that. Recognizing another person's toxic behavior is important, but remaining true to yourself and leaning into the person you want to be will bring about positive results.

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Read the original article on LinkedIn. Copyright 2017. Follow LinkedIn on Twitter.

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