How to Recognize and Neutralize Toxic People?
Any team may include people with destructive aura. They typically discuss colleagues and disrupt work processes. They are always negative towards the world around them. Sometimes they even show aggression.
These individuals are called toxic. Right, these are the people who directly affect the development of a destructive and unhealthy work environment and toxic workplace culture. They progressively decrease the level of team collaboration.
How to recognize and neutralize toxic team members? What if the toxic person is yourself? Here we’ve gathered essential signs that you are working with a toxic colleague.
What is a toxic person?
If you want to detox toxic people from your life, you first need to understand what a toxic person is. These people are master chameleons. They can even be disguised as your best friend, colleague, or family member.
Unfortunately, there is no magic monitor that will beep red whenever such a person enters your sacred space. The best way to realize if you have a toxic person in your life is to pay attention to how you feel after you are around this person. In case you feel negative, drained, and emotionally exhausted after hanging out with someone – they are toxic to you.
They will criticize you constantly, spread negativity, will jealous and manipulative of you. They may act out the parts of who they are, such as the victim, bully, perfectionist, or martyr.
What is the Impact of Toxic Employees Affecting the Company?
There was outstanding research provided by Dylan Minor, a professor at Harvard Business School, and Michael Houseman, the chief analyst at Cornerstone OnDemand. They investigated the negative impact of toxic people on the workplace. The authors reviewed 11 companies, more than 2,8K workgroups, and about 58K employees.
It turned out that there are toxic people and “superstars” in any team. In many cases, the “superstars” are so useful that without them the company would have to hire additional specialists to achieve the same level of productivity.
Major and Houseman calculated that the most productive team member brings the company $5K profit per year, and a toxic one brings in $12,5K in losses. It means that the costs associated with hiring a toxic employee are double the cost of hiring the most stellar employee.
Be sure: you will not distance yourself from toxic people until you first know who they are. The key to success is to separate those who are annoying from those who are truly toxic.
Here is the list of the types of toxic drainers that you should stay away from.
Types of Toxic People You Should Avoid
These kinds of toxic people typically derive pleasure from other people’s misfortunes. Gossipers think it’s fun to peer into somebody’s personal or professional faux. However, over time, it gets tiring and makes them feel gross, hurting other people. Actually, there is too much to learn from interesting people instead of wasting time talking about the misfortune of others.
This type of toxic person is tough to identify as you initially empathize with his/her problems. However, as time passes, you begin to understand that their “time of need” is permanent. Victims avoid personal responsibility. They make every knoll they encounter into an uncrossable mountain. These toxic people don’t see tough times as opportunities to learn and grow from. Instead, they see them as an out.
Manipulators typically suck the energy out of your life under the façade of friendship. These toxic people are tricky to deal with as they treat you like a friend. They know what makes you happy and what you prefer, but the difference is that they use this info as part of a hidden agenda. Manipulators always want something from you. If you analyze your communication with them, you’ll see that they only take with little or no giving.
There are people who can not control their emotions. They only project their feelings onto you, thinking that you’re the one causing their malaise. The lack of control over their emotions makes you feel bad for them. That is why temperamental people are tough to dump from your life. These toxic people should be avoided at all costs.
Even when something amazing and great happens to envious people, they don’t derive any satisfaction. They only measure their fortune against the world’s when they should be deriving their satisfaction from within. In fact, there there’s always someone out there who’s doing better than you, right? The envious toxic people do not realize it. It is dangerous to spend too much time around envious people as they teach you to trivialize your own accomplishments.
These kinds of toxic people bring you down through the impassionate distance they maintain from others. Hanging around self-absorbed people, you’ll probably feel completely alone because as far as they’re concerned, there’s no point in having a real connection between them and anyone else.
Dementors are evil creatures that suck people’s souls. When they enter the room, it goes dark, and people begin to recall their worst memories. Of course, such a description may seem exaggerated, but such people do exist. Dementors are highly negative people. They impose their negativity and pessimism upon everyone they encounter. They can inject fear and concern in even the most benign situations.
Twisted people have bad intentions, and they derive deep satisfaction from the pain and misery of others. These types of people are either out to hurt you, to make you feel bad, or to get something from you. The only good thing about them is that you can spot their intentions quickly.
These toxic people are quick to tell you exactly what is and isn’t cool. Judgementals have a way of taking the thing you’re most passionate about and making you feel terrible about it. They often look down on other people instead of appreciating and learning from them. Be careful, as hey will stifle your desire to be a passionate, expressive person. It is better to cut them out and being yourself.
Arrogant people see everything you do as a personal challenge. No doubt, they are a waste of your time. Arrogance always masks major insecurities as it is false confidence. Actually, arrogance is correlated with a slew of problems in the workplace. These workers tend to be lower performers, more disagreeable, and have more cognitive problems than average employees.
How to Deal With Toxic People?
If you are a manager
Never forget that the negative impact of a toxic person negates the merit of good workers. Even if an individual seems to be motivated and productive and does a lot of work, his/her negative impact on the atmosphere in the team prevents others from working to their fullest. Consider getting rid of such employees.
If you are HR
The first thing you can do is to understand the real motivation of the person who wants to work for you. Try to ask open-ended questions and observe not only what the person says, but also how he/she does it.
Pay attention to non-verbal signs that will tell you a lot about whether he is honest. A person who is telling the truth will sit in an open position demonstrating natural emotions. If he/she is afraid to look into your eyes and takes closed poses, they may be lying.
Explore the previous experience of the applicant and study what recommendations were given by previous employers. Scroll through their social media accounts as well. Toxic communication will be visible from the outside.
If you are a colleague
Try to build personal boundaries and demonstrate how they can communicate with you and how not, which topics can be discussed and which are prohibited.
A toxic colleague will often provoke you into unpleasant emotions. If you have someone to share them with, their negative impact will diminish, so try to find support. Control your emotions. If a toxic person fails to get you emotional, he/she will choose another object of influence or will calm down.
Toxicity within us
What if you are a toxic person? If you find that your team members are reluctant to communicate with you, avoid meetings, or hate your communication style, you may be that toxic colleague.
Do not panic and try to analyze your behavior. Ask yourself some relevant questions. Are you constantly bragging and talking only about yourself? Do you like to complain? Do you like to criticize everything? Don’t know how to show emotions?
Awareness is half of the work done. Ask your manager and team members for honest feedback about you – they can be your toxicity test. Then it remains to be attentive to your behavior, to approach communication more consciously, and think about others, not just about yourself.