Dealing with Toxic Colleagues

Dealing With Toxic Colleagues: Easy Tips For Managing Them

Updated on July 5, 2024

Today, many people are stressed in dealing with toxic colleagues at their workplace. It is a fact that many sincere and honest employees are facing problems from toxic colleagues at work. A healthy work environment is vital for professional success and personal well-being. However, despite your best efforts, sometimes you have to work alongside toxic colleagues who negatively affect your work experience. Toxic colleagues can take many forms, from those who engage in bullying and gossip to those who spread negativity and mistrust. The effects of toxic colleagues can be far-reaching, leading to increased stress, decreased productivity, and even physical and mental health issues. In this context, it is essential to understand the impact of toxic colleagues on the workplace and to explore strategies to mitigate their influence.

Toxic Colleagues

Maintaining a healthy work environment is crucial for optimal job performance. Positive relationships with colleagues, as well as recognition and support from superiors, are key components of a healthy workplace. Regrettably, not all workplaces provide these conditions. It is natural to be curious about how our colleagues perceive us, and whether they hold any negative feelings towards us. We all have that one colleague who makes work life a living hell. They may constantly undermine you, criticize your work, or gossip behind your back. These types of colleagues are known as toxic colleagues or toxic coworkers, and they can take a toll on your mental and emotional health. By observing certain behaviours, we can discern their attitudes towards us.

Toxic Colleagues And Dealing With Toxic Colleagues
Toxic Colleagues And Dealing With Toxic Colleagues

What are the signs of toxic colleagues?

Will avoid you

If you notice that your colleagues tend to avoid making eye contact with you, even when they are in close proximity or purposefully dodge encounters with you, it may be an indication that they have negative feelings towards you and prefer to keep their distance.

Take credit for your work

If your colleagues take credit for your work, receiving praise and recognition for your accomplishments as if they were their own, it may be a sign that they are not supportive of your success. They may even actively work against your efforts to receive recognition, promotions, or other opportunities to advance your career. This behaviour can be especially toxic, as it not only damages your professional reputation but can also impede your personal growth and development within the company.

Disregard and diminish your opinions

When working together in a team, toxic colleagues may not only disregard your presence but also diminish the value of your ideas and opinions. They may ignore your input during group discussions or intentionally dismiss your suggestions, making you feel undervalued and disrespected. Such behaviour can create a toxic work environment and have a detrimental effect on team morale and productivity. Successful decision-making in the workplace is very important for productivity and a successful career.

Attempt to assert authority over you

In some cases, your colleagues may attempt to assert authority over you, despite holding the same job title and rank. This could manifest as unwarranted reprimands, excessive criticism, or unsolicited advice that comes across as condescending or patronizing. Such behaviour can be frustrating and undermine your confidence and credibility within the team.

Encourage you to resign

Sometimes there can be job pressure and you find it difficult to tackle stress at work. If someone tells you that you are not suitable for your current job and need to move on to better opportunities, it is important to take their advice with caution. While some individuals may have your best interests at heart and offer honest feedback, others may have ulterior motives or harbour negative feelings towards you. To distinguish between genuine and insincere advice, it is crucial to carefully consider the source and their motivations before taking action.

Let’s explore the best ways in dealing with toxic colleagues:

Dealing with toxic colleagues

1. Keep your cool

When dealing with toxic colleagues, it is important to keep your emotions in check. Don’t let their negative behaviour get to you. Stay calm and professional, and avoid getting into arguments or confrontations with them. Remember, toxic coworkers thrive on drama, so don’t give them the satisfaction of getting a reaction out of you. Try to avoid workplace communication mistakes that can damage your career.

2. Set boundaries

One way to deal with toxic colleagues is to set clear boundaries. Let them know what behaviour is unacceptable and what you will not tolerate. For example, if they are constantly interrupting you during meetings, you could say something like, “I appreciate your input, but I need to finish my thought before you jump in.” By setting boundaries, you are showing the toxic coworker that you will not be a doormat for their bad behaviour.

3. Document everything

If the toxic colleague’s behaviour is affecting your work or causing you undue workplace stress, it is important to document everything. Keep a record of the incidents, including dates, times, and what was said or done. This documentation can be useful if you need to bring the issue to HR or your supervisor.

4. Seek support

Dealing with toxic colleagues can be incredibly isolating. You may feel like no one else understands what you are going through. But remember, you are not alone. Seek support from friends, family, or a therapist. You may also find it helpful to talk to other coworkers who have had similar experiences.

5. Talk to your superiors

If the toxic colleague’s behaviour is affecting your work or causing a hostile work environment, it may be time to bring the issue to your supervisor or HR. Be sure to bring your documentation with you and explain how the toxic coworker’s behaviour is impacting your work. Your supervisor or HR may be able to provide solutions or mediation to help resolve the issue.

Are you a toxic person? Beware of toxic positivity.

The above is all about dealing with toxic colleagues. But you can find toxic people around you also. You can learn how to deal with toxic people.

Toxic Workplace Quote – Gary Chapman

Toxic Workplace Quote Gary Chapman
Toxic Workplace Quote Gary Chapman

When a workplace becomes toxic, its poison spreads beyond its walls and into the lives of its workers and their families.

Gary Chapman, Rising Above a Toxic Workplace: Taking Care of Yourself in an Unhealthy Environment

Amy Morin – Psychotherapist and international bestselling mental strength author writes in her article on Forbes: Toxic coworkers can drain you of the mental strength you need to do your best—if you let them. Here are five strategies for staying strong even when you work with the most difficult people


In conclusion, dealing with toxic colleagues can be a difficult and draining experience, but it’s important to remember that you have options and resources available to you. By setting boundaries, practising self-care, and seeking support from others, you can protect yourself from the harmful effects of toxic coworkers.

It’s also worth considering if there are any systemic issues within your workplace that may be contributing to toxic behaviour. In some cases, it may be necessary to address these issues through HR or other channels in order to create a healthier and more positive work environment for everyone.

Remember that you don’t have to tolerate toxic behaviour, and you have the power to take action and create a better situation for yourself. By staying true to your values and taking steps to protect yourself, you can navigate the challenges of working with toxic colleagues and continue to thrive in your career.

Do you have toxic colleagues? Are you dealing with toxic colleagues successfully?

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