Toxic people in the workplace and how to protect yourself – By Lee Farghaly

Toxic people in the workplace and how to protect yourselfWe’ve all been there. We’ve all worked with people who are essentially ‘mood hoovers’ who specialise in sucking positivity out of a room as soon as they enter it. With one swift interaction, or non-interaction, they can suddenly drag your mood to the ground when it was once in the sky.

Different personalities

Through previous experiences, I’ve dealt with many different personalities, as I’m sure we all have, and in a previous retail role, I had two senior managers whose personalities differed dramatically.

One ruled through fear, everyone was intimidated by him, and when he was on the prowl, you wouldn’t even breathe heavily in case it offended his delicate eardrums.

The other senior manager almost had two personalities. One day he was your best mate, the next he was having a go at you. It was mentally exhausting because you simply didn’t know where you stood with him.

I personally preferred the manager who ruled through fear, as you knew exactly where you stood with him. Simple. Some people may prefer the second manager as he’d always keep you on your toes, but not for me thank you.

What I’m trying to highlight is that we all have unique personalities and behaviours; it’s what makes humans stand out as a species.

You will always have toxic people in the workplace; it doesn’t matter what sector you work in, the toxicity is indiscriminate. People will always complain. Some more than others, but a lot of people complain as a form of venting and de-stressing, so surely it’s a good thing in a way?

Protect yourself

To protect yourself from these kinds of people, you need to create your own metaphoric ‘haz-mat’ suit. Rather than focusing on how they affect your mood, think about how you can help that person to neutralise their toxicity.

You could always raise any issues you have with a senior member of the team, but try to avoid criticising without having a potential solution. You stand out as someone who doesn’t just want to better themselves, but also others.

The easy way out would be to put in earplugs when the person in question starts talking, or just walk out of the room when they walk in. But these would just be postponing the issue, and probably wouldn’t go down too well either!

Put yourself in their shoes, try to understand the reasons behind the toxicity, and suggest potential solutions to those above you. If you follow this advice, you may halt the toxic spill before it becomes critical.

If you feel the spill is irreversible, get in touch with us today to let us help you find a job you will love!


Share this article