Last time, we identified seven common toxic workmates. So how do we begin the process of detoxification? Here are 12 steps to detoxing for a healthier work environment.
12-Step Detox from Work Relationships
Recognize: be honest about the relationship. Are you in it because you feel a sense of loyalty or sympathy? Be truthful with yourself. Is it just that the person is having a rough period or the behavior is atypical? Be kind. But if you feel like you are being emotionally bullied or having to “pretend” and act differently around that person, the relationship may be toxic.
Disengage: don’t get pulled in. It doesn’t mean you become a robot and ignore that person, but once you recognize a relationship is toxic, detach yourself emotionally. Don’t invest in the stories or the drama.
Just say no: if the person is being unreasonable, just say no. Easier said than done, so say it first. The rest will follow.
Stick to the facts: know your work, what happened, and be prepared to document and clarify should you find yourself on the unfair side of blame. Stick to the facts, rather than getting caught up in a “he-said-she-said.”
Keep Ego away: toxic folks know how to hit our egos where they hurt most. Observe the situation like a movie rather than letting your Ego take over. A bird’s eye view can help you avoid judging that person or yourself in the situation, and to help you keep your cool.
Watch your body language: sometimes it’s subtle, but that eyebrow raise and momentary facial twitch may undermine your outwardly objective demeanor. Toxic folks are often sensitive to how others react to them, so be careful not to convey disapproval – that becomes their fuel.
Laugh: find the humor in the situation. Make a joke, lighten the mood – it might throw the other person off guard in a good way. Find the humor in the situation yourself, as if you are in a bad episode of The Office.
Be civil: even if you really, really dislike that person, you are at work, and it is important to remain cordial and civil. Don’t engage in water-cooler gossip or you’ll find yourself being the bully.
Be kind: be kind to yourself. Why is what the other person saying so affecting you? Take pride in your work and achievements, as they are never of a lesser value just because one person says so.
Break up: if the relationship is so toxic and cannot be repaired or improved, no matter how long you have known the person, it might be time to break up – for that person’s benefit and yours.
Remember, it’s not about you: understanding that the other person is likely having his/her own personal issues can help you to see the “bigger picture” and be the “bigger person.” The way that person is acting usually has nothing to do with you, but rather, the behavior is born out of a lack of self-confidence, overcompensation, anxiety, etc.
Seek help: if you feel anxious or depressed because of a toxic work relationship, seek professional counsel. We’re often just too close or emotionally invested that the situation seems impossible. There is a whole lot to gain in getting advice from someone who can see your situation objectively.
This was first published on www.Hummingbirdrcc.com.
Dr. Belinda Chiu is a social change strategist, coach, and facilitator. Like you, she believes that everyone has the transformational ability to reach their potential and beyond. Dr. Chiu incorporates a practice of mindfulness to help individuals harness their natural strengths, achieve results, and carve their own paths towards professional fulfillment. She writes regularly on her website, Hummingbird research coaching consulting.
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