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9 tips for dealing with toxic coworkers

Rich Hein | Aug. 11, 2015
Negative people in the workplace can take a toll on both your sanity and health. But before you point fingers ensure you've done you're part to build a healthy relationship. Here experts discuss techniques for dealing with difficult behaviours.

"The formula I usually give to a coachee in this circumstance is [to] relax yourself so that you can practice assertive communication with your co-worker, seek a win-win solution, talk to yourself optimistically throughout the challenging moments, and increase your own daily self-care," says Garcy.

If you feel like you've exhausted those avenues than maybe it's time to talk to your manager or supervisor and get some assistance from them.

Grow your emotional intelligence

Whether you're an IT leader or an entry-level help desk analyst, emotional intelligence will help you understands people's motivations and their behaviors, allowing you to empathize with them and perhaps change your perspective.

"Emotional intelligence helps you deal with difficult or toxic people from a rational standpoint, allowing you to focus on the facts of the relationship by recognizing and managing your emotions as compared to those of the difficult person. It is important that one understands the situation properly and doesn't overreact or take things personal," says John DiCamillo, CTO and head of infrastructure & services for Arup, an independent firm of designers, planners, engineers, consultants and technical specialists.

This doesn't happen by itself. There are many avenues for professional development in the area of emotional intelligence like a career coach or leadership seminars. Do your part and continue to educate and grow. "Emotional intelligence is a multiplier effect for both the individual and the business. It can't replace technical excellence, but it can multiply the business advantage for the company. And, it can multiply the effectiveness for the individual," says Larry Bonfante, founder of CIO Bench Coach and CIO of USTA.

Take care of yourself

One of Garcy's recurring theme is self-care. It might seem obvious, but it's often overlooked. "Get plenty of sleep, eat healthy foods, exercise, spend time with positive people, and reconnect with yourself," says Garcy. Doing so can only increase your odds of a better outcome and will help you lead a healthier, more manageable lifestyle. Find ways to reduce stress levels in your own life, like yoga, meditation, exercise or a self-help book. For others it may be golf or fishing. Whatever you do to relax, make sure you are investing enough time in your own wellness.

Final Thoughts

"It's important to recognize that not every challenge will have an immediate solution, so be patient," says Garcy. Successful people will work toward a long-term solution, rather than a short-term release of stress.


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