We go to work to get things done, and it never helps to blame a co-worker for problems that happen. It’s far better to work together to achieve our goals.
Usually, anyway. But sometimes it just seems like a co-worker is dead set on derailing the entire work process. Maybe they’re constantly gossiping about their peers or always missing deadlines. Whenever you ask them about their problematic behavior, there’s an excuse. They’re having an off day because they slept badly, they missed a deadline because their aunt is sick, they aren’t gossiping, they just “say it like it is.” Here are a few signs your co-worker might be toxic.
- They Lie. A lot.
Lying is never a great look, but there can be legitimate reasons for bending the truth. Maybe a co-worker is suffering from an illness and doesn’t want to worry you or is suffering from personal drama they don’t want to share. But if lies pile up day after day for no reason, you might be dealing with a toxic co-worker.
A toxic co-worker might lie about co-workers to gain your trust, or lie about reasons they’re missing deadlines. When caught in a lie, they might lie again to try and get out of an awkward situation.
- They Gaslight.
According to Dictionary.com, “gaslighting is a form of emotional abuse or psychological manipulation involving distorting the truth in order to confuse or instill doubt in another person to the point they question their sanity or reality.”
A co-worker who engages in gaslighting does so to exert control, or to get you to side with them in work disputes. For example, a co-worker might tell you that the deadline for a project is coming up next Tuesday in person, but then say via email they never said that and that the due date is actually Monday.
- Everyone is Against Them (Or So They Say)
The old saying is true: “if you have a problem with everyone else, the real problem might actually be you.” (I can’t remember what the actual saying is here, proofers feel free to chime in). If a co-worker constantly complains about how everyone else in the workplace is against them, take that information with a grain of salt. It might mean they’re looking to make you an ally because they’ve already burned all their bridges.
If you do have a toxic co-worker, there are really only two ways to deal with them. Either you ignore their toxic behavior and focus on your own job, or you talk to your boss about them. The latter is never a fun conversation, but if their toxicity is really affecting your work, it might be the only option.
Have you ever dealt with a toxic co-worker? Let us know in the comments section below!