Toxic coworkers can cause unnecessary stress and frustration at work, which can lead to difficulties at home and even health-related issues. Work is stressful enough without the extra drama, learn about the different types of toxic coworkers and how to deal with them.
1. THE POLITICIAN
WHO THEY ARE: They are more worried about getting the next high profile project or client than actually doing their work. They spend most of their day reminding the boss how awesome they are and talking with other employees to try and figure out what is going on and who is doing what. It is all a game to them and one they plan on winning, even if they have to back-stab and step on everyone they work with to win.
WHAT TO DO: Don’t get drawn into their schemes or plots. Don’t give them any more information than you have to, as they will suck away your time asking questions about who is doing what or who is the boss’s favorite. Also, document all of your work and make sure that your work flows directly to your boss and not through the Politician. Save emails and voicemail in case you need proof that you, in fact, did the work, and not the Politician who likely wants credit for it. Be careful with emails, as the Politician will ask you to forward work to them for review while they send it on to the boss and claim credit for it.
2. THE SINGULARITY
WHO THEY ARE: They are time suckers in that they procrastinate and wait to the last minute to complete assignments or turn in projects. They are always in a crisis. They are negative and always have some sob story or another to share with you as to why they are late or behind schedule.
WHAT TO DO: The easiest way to deal with them is to leave enough room in the schedule between the deadline you give them and the actual deadline. This way, their crisis does not become a actual crisis for you.
3. THE RUMOR MONGER
WHO THEY ARE: They spend most of their day chatting with coworkers and digging for juicy tidbits of personal information. They get a perverse pleasure from talking about other people. They waste everyone’s time with trivial stories about fellow coworkers that may or may not even be true. They are a massive time sucker.
WHAT TO DO: Don’t engage with them. They will take anything you say and spread it around the office. Unless you want information to be spread to everyone in the office, then don’t talk to this person. Anything you say will be passed on to everyone else.
4. THE SLACKER
WHO THEY ARE: They are content to let everyone else in the office pick up their slack. They don’t care what anyone thinks of them, and if they can get away with not doing anything, then they will do as little as possible. They spend a lot of time learning exactly what they can get away with and how little they can do without getting fired.
WHAT TO DO: The best way to deal with them is to demand accountability and pop in to visit unannounced. Keep them on their toes so that they never know when they will be checked up on. Also, if you reward their productivity when they actually produce, you may incentivize them into better work habits without the increased supervision.
5. THE SOCIAL BUTTERFLY
WHO THEY ARE: They see work as a chance to socialize and hangout. They are loud and distracting, as they are inherently charismatic and funny. They are typically immature and unprofessional and like to fan office drama for their own enjoyment. They tend to waste work time with non-work-related conversations and distract other employees.
WHAT TO DO: They tend to have a lot of energy and good interpersonal skills, and if you can redirect those positive traits into work-related areas, they may become an asset. Until then, they will require a lot of supervising and redirecting them back onto the task at hand.