Working with a toxic co-worker can be as distressing if not more, as it sounds. Is there someone in your team who loves to slack even though every other work professional is ambitious and working hard for their job? Do they arrive late at work? Leave early? Are they lazy? Take long lunch breaks? When asked to do some work do they agree and slack off? Or are you that toxic co-worker?
If you or your manager chooses to avoid addressing problem behaviors at a workplace, it can lead to serious consequences. Even though addressing toxic employees can be quite distressing and uncomfortable. You need to set your ground and take corrective action.
Types of Toxic Co-Workers and How to Deal With Them
- The Gossipmonger
An open-communication culture should always be encouraged but should have its limitations. Office gossip might often lead to a decrease in your team’s productivity. These are the kind of people who exaggerate office news and seek recognition by spreading rumors about their co-workers. This ‘social-butterfly’ employee starts becoming toxic. When they get more occupied with their fun stories and less occupied with the work assigned to them. In addition, biased rumors and excessive gossips can also cause drama in your workplace and bad blood between the employees.
To deal with this, it’s best to not shift yourself or your employees into their respective cubicles to avoid contact. But instead, make sure they have enough time to interact with each other during their lunch break or after work hours. In the case of some specific employees who still try to initiate gossips, it’s best to speak to them directly and ask them to stop distracting their co-workers.
- The Procrastinator
Procrastination isn’t always bad. The procrastinators might have started this behavior due to some unexpected triggers. They can be the best workers and might perform best under pressure so they wait for their deadlines to approach.
But if this co-worker starts slacking by missing deadlines and submitting low-quality work, it’s best to address this behavior. By assigning them demanding tasks, asking them to prepare a presentation in an ongoing work project, and providing them with stricter deadlines, might help them adhere to their responsibilities.
- The Narcissist
Having a narcissistic co-worker can be the most annoying experience. These individuals have no sense of empathy for what others think, demand praise, and can be really entitled. They take credit for your hard work, blames everything on you, sabotages your work, and exploit your weak points.
If your co-worker is a narcissist, ignoring them is the best option.
- The Bully
When you’re working with a bully, they will try to bring you down, pick on you, spread rumors about you and take advantage of your weaknesses. If you feel intimidated by a certain person, avoid attending meetings and going to the lunchroom because they are present, the problem isn’t that you are shy. Analyze your interaction with that particular co-worker. More often than not, you might find out that the co-worker is bullying you.
If you find your co-worker bullying you or any other employee, it’s your job to stop them in their tracks. If your co-worker is spotted insulting or yelling at the employees, react immediately. Get security to escort them to HR immediately.
- The Know It All
We all have a ‘know it all’ person in our personal or professional life. They are the kind of people who think they know everything and refuse to accept any other point of view or opinions. These employees exhibit extremely toxic behavior because they refuse to receive feedback.
You should consider training sessions for the ‘know it all’ employees to broaden their knowledge and be more humble. Encouraging and publicly recognizing employees who think out-of-the-box while suggesting ways to improve company performance should also help.
Ways to Get a Toxic Co-Worker Fired
- Note Their Habits
It is important to know how to identify if a co-worker is toxic which you will find easy after reading the previous section. Keeping that in mind, you have to observe the co-worker in their environment without letting them know. This means observing their interaction with other employees, how they behave with their co-workers in their free time and when they do their work alone. Analyze every belittling comment, how they make others feel miserable and intimidated, and how they play the victim when called out for doing so.
- Talk to Other Employees
Talking to other employees targeted by a particular co-worker might help in gaining support for your complaint. Try to get other co-workers who have been experiencing the same kind of behavior or those who are not easily fooled by his manipulative charms.
- Gather Evidence
After determining their toxic nature, note down the evidence. Keeping a secret diary to write their toxic behaviors and how they deal with other employees might help. They might try to gaslight you or manipulate what you see or hear. This is why you need to keep track of this diary in case they make you doubt your own memories or cognitive abilities.
- Testing Their Toxicity
Testing the target is the fun part, but make sure you have enough evidence and your team to rely on to do so. Use a real-life situation where you and the other employees have done your job in a sincere, authentic, and responsible way and all of the fault will be of the target co-worker. If you observe your surroundings and make conscious decisions, you will most likely pinpoint the behavior to determine your case.
- Expose the Co-Worker
Finally, when you have enough evidence and support from your fellow workers, conduct the test and float the rumors. Just as the right environment builds, inform your manager about the ‘special friend’ of yours. Keep in mind the ongoing situation, have a calm temperament, and explain the valid claims and logical explanations to your manager. Make sure to keep these points in your mind, and you might be closer to pushing your toxic co-worker from the cliff than you think.