Avoiding the Workplace Toxic Trap
Updated: Sep 21, 2021
Dealing with a wide variety of personalities and temperaments in the office is hard enough, but when a toxic attitude exudes from a co-worker, it can create havoc. It’s not just about being in a bad mood at work but rather an infectious and malicious attitude that affects everyone in the workplace and can possibly undermine an entire business entity. Getting rid of toxic people in your life doesn’t mean they have to disappear. In a few steps, though, you can make them invisible to you.
Smile like an idiot even during the most negative diatribes inflicted upon you in the break room or at your desk. Negative people hate this! Fake it. It works and takes the steam out of their assaults as well as giving you an inner sense of satisfaction.
Don’t fall for the Okie Doke!! Whatever it is. Often times toxic people will try to get you to agree with negative comments about your co-workers. That’s part of ‘œThe Toxic Trap.’ No matter what, do not respond. Don’t even ask questions. Pretend that your coffee or pile of paperwork is more interesting.
Find someone in your office to mentor, someone younger or lower on the business totem pole. You will create a valuable ally as well as a buffer between you and the toxic person. Make sure to caution your mentee not to fall into "The Toxic Trap." It’s like quicksand.
Compliment the Toxic One. It sounds stupid, but it works. On that day when he/she has a pimple on the nose or looks particularly pronounced, be sure to find something nice to say. Nice shoes! Love the tie! Have you done something new to your hair? Be genuine and sincere, everyone has something that can be complimented.
Work toward making others – the non-toxic – in your office feel more important and more valued. Not only will this help you de-focus on the Toxic One, but will also strengthen the backbones of your co-workers and help defray any future unpleasant encounters in the workplace.
Toxicity can result from an extreme lack of self-esteem. It’s a form of bullying and if it becomes physical in any way, then it is truly time to go to management. Don’t touch me means just that..
Lastly, remember this: “No one can make you feel inferior without your permission.”