Behaviors Of A Toxic Coworker

May 17, 2018  |  
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Gettyimages.com/Casual business, Shot at creative architect office

Playground and high school behavior is alive in well in the world of adults. Surviving to be a certain age does not guarantee that a person learns life lessons—lessons about being patient, about being gracious, about being humble, about being generous, about being positive, about being tactful, and so on. Life certainly gives people the chance to learn those lessons over and over again, slapping us on the wrist and making us face consequences when we fail to exhibit patience/positivity/generosity etc. But, some people just don’t learn the lesson. Some folks pay the price of being petty over and over again and, for some reason, don’t seem to connect the dots and realize that their circumstances are a result of their behavior. These dense individuals go on to be what you may know as toxic coworkers. They’re like snakes, and can hide in the weeds until it’s too late. Here are signs of a toxic coworker.

Gettyimages.com/Side profile of a woman whispering in her friend’s ear in university

Getting you to gossip

They pull you aside and share clearly private (and not so flattering) information about other people. It’s just talk right? Well…would you share, for no reason at all, negative and private information about somebody with somebody else? Probably not.

Gettyimages.com/Businesswoman telling secret to businessman

Telling others you gossip

You hear that this person has been telling other people that you gossip. Ah. So that was the point of them grabbing you in the coffee room to tell you so and so is having an affair with the boss. It was to implicate you in the crime later, and make themselves look like the good guy.

Gettyimages.com/Two Colleagues Talking At Cafe Counter, Waiting To Be Served

Distracting you while you work

Sending you funny articles, playing loud music, playing distracting videos, constantly asking you questions, and trying to banter with you even though you’re clearly working. It appears as if they just want to entertain you, but ultimately, they’re trying to ensure you don’t get your work done.

Gettyimages.com/People in office.

Trying to help you cut corners

They suggest things you can do to, well, technically…cheat. They instruct you on ways to cut corners. They tell you which things the boss told you to do that you can actually get away with not doing. Are they helping you? Or are they hoping to tell on you later?

Gettyimages.com/Businesspeople having conversation, while on the way to a meeting

Forming alliances

They seem to want to form alliances. They’ll say things like, “We aren’t like that person” or “You get it—you and I understand how it is.” But they say comments that bind you two together, and ostracize others.

Gettyimages.com/coworkers confiding in each other

Pushing for private information

They push you to share private information with them that you don’t want to share. Even after you’ve said, more than once, that you’d rather not say something, they push and push.

Gettyimages.com/Two businesswomen walking along office corridor, in conversation

Cozying up to those in power

The moment someone gets promoted or gets a little power, this toxic coworker suddenly wants to be that person’s best friend. They barely paid attention to them before—and were perhaps even mean to that person before. But now that they’re in power, this toxic coworker adores that person.

Gettyimages.com/Hispanic businesswomen with arms crossed

Being mean to those who aren’t in power

Toxic coworkers like to be condescending and mean to those who they don’t perceive as powerful. It’s their way of posturing, and showing everyone else that they are powerful because they are able to talk down to somebody.

Gettyimages.com/Colleagues having a break in office kitchen

Being exclusive in social activities

You find out that this person arranged a happy hour or outing for coworkers but… you weren’t invited. Or, you were invited, but this person instructed you not to tell select individuals.

Gettyimages.com/Businesswomen with coffee gossiping in office cubicles

Lying to get out of work

This person isn’t accountable or honest. They lie about being sick or having doctors appointments so they can go to concerts. They lie about having lost a relative when they simply don’t feel like doing something.

Gettyimages.com/Corporate businesswomen with coffee talking and walking

Doing unsolicited favors

Watch out for a coworker who goes out of her way to do something very nice for you that you didn’t ask for. If the favor feels inappropriately large, then she’s probably going to ask you to do something you aren’t comfortable with later.

Gettyimages.com/Frustrated businesswoman talking on cell phone with paperwork and coffee

Accidentally giving you the wrong instructions

This coworker has, on more than one occasion, “Accidentally” given you the wrong instructions. You, then, got in trouble with your superiors for doing things the wrong way.

Gettyimages.com/African-American woman in home office with tablet

CCing the superiors about your mistakes

This individual finds every reason to include your superiors on emails, pointing out your mistakes. She tries to make it seem innocent—like she just wanted to “double check” with the bosses that this or that is supposed to be this way. But she finds a way to show them your mistakes that they otherwise wouldn’t have seen.

Gettyimages.com/Businesswoman chatting with colleague

Teasing those who stand up to them

If someone ever stands up to this person, or accurately accuses them of doing something toxic, this person teases them, calls them a baby, and makes them feel dumb.

Gettyimages.com/Small group of people having business meeting, male and female colleagues having disagreement

Criticizing people who are doing well

If somebody gets a position that this toxic coworker wanted, they aren’t happy for them. They don’t congratulate them. They just start criticizing everything that person does.

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