We have all heard the term “toxic people”, and perhaps we have all been surrounded by toxic people, somewhere once in our life. When in social life, you consider that you are close to a person who does you no good, it is much easier to get away, but what if that person is part of your work? If so, the situation is much more complicated.
Although the above is one of the most frustrating work phenomena, in reality, it could also become a huge challenge that generates gratifications and self-knowledge. Although we cannot control everything that happens around us, we can choose how to react to it. And, if you work in a toxic work environment, the best thing you can do is plan your departure and implement strategies that allow you to quit and find, or create, a job where you are happiest.
So, here are some tips that will allow you to survive in a toxic workplace without draining yourself.
Remember you have the power to choose and design an exit plan
The victim’s attitude will only disempower you and make you feel worse. Ultimately, you are free to decide whether or not to stay in your current job. So if you choose to stay in a toxic work environment, be honest with yourself, remember why you wished to stay there, and keep in mind that it is a choice you are freely making.
On the other hand, change is always a possibility, as hard as it may seem. Many of the limits you perceive are in your mind. You can challenge your limiting beliefs, broaden your perspective, and risk breaking out of your known zone. This process is not always easy, so if you need it, work with a coach who helps you gain confidence, develop your potential, and design an effective action plan to get out of where you are and create better possibilities.
Inform the management
Senior management must recognize that there is a problem and accept that changes are necessary. If they don’t take that first step, they will never implement real, lasting change that will improve the spirit of the company. Faced with such a situation, take your cliques and your slaps without waiting. Yet, if they fall off the coconut palm, you will need to take the time to educate them with facts.
Prepare for your interviews with real examples of what goes wrong and what needs work. Above all, be proactive. Make constructive suggestions on how things could be improved. It doesn’t matter if you were newly hired or an old employee, tackling such a delicate subject is difficult but necessary to do. If you can, find colleagues willing to support you and build on your proposed solutions’, will give you a much better chance of being heard and considered.
Focus on your work
During Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, Michelle Obama said a brilliant phrase about how she handled the situation: “When they go low, go high.” This doesn’t mean you counterattack at all the low blows or the gossip’s, it means that you maintain performance to show that you’re above all that. Ultimately, focus on the work rather than engaging in the comments of others.
Express yourself calmly
Your passive acceptance of mistreatment is unlikely to make a change. It might further encourage bad behavior. By closing your eyes to the situation, you won’t get anywhere. Object, but do so in a calm and collected manner, and most importantly, in private. You are unlikely to get the response you want if you yell and get angry in front of all the coworkers in the office since the culprit might just get on the defensive and erupt. Whether you like it or not, you have a relationship with a toxic individual.
Therefore, make sure the person understands how you feel about his/her actions. Don’t give up. Express yourself. You will probably have shaking voices and hands, but you will come to be more assertive with practice. Give yourself that power.
Drain, but don’t take your frustrations with you out of the office.
You shouldn’t carry your work drama with you, nor should you hold back your frustrations. Finding someone you can talk to and vent with, like your partner, a friend, or even your mother or father, can help you tremendously. Keeping a journal and writing about your aggravations on one page can also be very therapeutic. Just make sure you don’t take your problems with you once you’ve removed them from your system. Clear your mind, but don’t let what is happening at work cloud the rest of your life.
As a smart and experienced professional, it is your responsibility to recognize when it is worth the effort to create change and when it is time to say bye-bye. Life is short, and it passes too fast to be wasted in a place where you are not happy.