5 tips for dealing with toxic behaviour at work


I’m hesitant to use the phrase “toxic person” because sometimes, the people in question are great, “normal”, people with a solid group of friends/family who love them (social proof) but something happens to them in work (usually stemming from deep seeded insecurity) that makes them not so loveable and more, toxic.

Behaviours that are, undermining, spiteful, rude, conniving or otherwise negative are toxic. The worst part is that you can’t escape the toxic person. You have to sit through meetings with him or her. They are there in the lunchroom, bathroom and working space.

How do you deal with their toxic vibes?

Try some of these tactics

1. Take charge

Know your boundaries and make sure they are defined to those around you, especially the toxic person. Yes, you might not be their favourite person after you have a direct chat about negative behaviour but do you care? The best thing to do is address the situation head on as kindly as you can – and if that’s not a viable solution then check out the next four tactics.

2. Personal power check

No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.-Eleanor Roosevelt

Stop giving toxic people your head space. We can’t control how people act, but we can 100 percent control over how we react to them. This is no easy task, but when you obsess over what someone else is doing, or overthink their motivations – then you are blind to a resolution – you have become too emotionally involved.

Take the emotion out of your management of toxic people. You can’t control them. Obsessing over them will only drain your energy and good vibes, take your personal power back.

3. Distance yourself

Following on from the last point – make a conscious effort to withdraw from the toxic personal emotionally and mentally. Headphones? use them.

If you can change your physical location – or if an opportunity arises to do so, then grab it. The less contact with the person the better.

4. Let them “show themselves up”

This is, step back and let them take the centre stage, exposing their toxic behaviour for all to see. No need to draw attention to these things if you see it – you can be sure others do too.

5. Professional positivity

Bottom line is, you must give him or her the respect they deserve in their professional position otherwise you are in no position to request the same.

One step further is meeting their negative behaviour with positivity.

Uplifting, positive, behaviour is good for the room – which is being drained by the toxic person and importantly it’s good for you too. Being positive, is a sure fire way to drown out negative behaviour.

Also – its incredibly satisfying to remain on a high, positive horse, when faced with adversity.



Author: Leila Mezoughi

Leila is PCA’s Head Editor and Researcher. She holds a 1st class Law with Business degree and became a published author at 25. Former crime investigator turned business journalist. On a mission to show businesses that presenteeism is a thing of the past. Everything seems impossible until it’s done. Typically found working from a white beach in South-East Asia embracing rapidly changing technology.

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5 tips for dealing with toxic behaviour at work - PCA LAW