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How to deal with toxic colleagues?

As a leader, what should you do with toxic members within your organization or team?
Firing might not be an option. Firing could be effective only if you integrate concrete values into your daily work, or else, toxicity might remain in the system.
Here are survival strategies suggested by Dr Mitchell Kusy and Dr Elizabeth Holloway in their book Toxic Workplace:
- Identify the three types of “toxic protectors”—individuals who enable toxicity.
- Identify and give feedback to the “toxic buffer” who shields others from the antics of the toxic person.
- Stop giving feedback only to the toxic person but rather focus on understanding and intervening in the team and organizational system levels.
- Co-create concrete values of respectful engagement;
- Use a large-scale change process for designing concrete, behaviorally specific values of respectful engagement
- Create rules and stick to them:
- No pit bulls
- No prima donnas
- No chameleons who kiss-up and kick-down
- No organizational stars who get away with tyranny!
Don’t mess with toxic persons who are successful, because it might cost more to do nothing.
Don’t wait for HR or consultants to solve the problem, as change has to come from within the system.
Try to unmask and unconvert the toxic “protectors”… Sometimes snitching can be everyone’s salvation!
Good luck!

Here is another Workplace Survival Guide written by an expert employment lawyer, T J McHugh.
How to Beat Your Boss helps you understand where you really stand as an employee, and answer questions such as “I hate my boss. Should I resign?” or “Can my boss really treat me like that?” . Psychopaths in the workplace are a very real, very common and grossly underestimated phenomenon. They can be bosses or co-workers. Most victims don’t understand what is happening to them until things have gotten way out of control.

Let’s finish with a funny though cynic novel about  daily work. It is set in an advertising agency in Chicago.
Joshua Ferris’s Then We Came To The End takes a sustained interest in the idea of the working environment and its potential to alter the behaviour of the people caught up in it.

Here is an excerpt: “We were fractious and overpaid. Our mornings lacked promise. At least those of us who smoked had something to look forward to at ten-fifteen. [...] Ordinarily jobs came in and we completed them in a timely and professional manner. Sometimes fuckups did occur. Printing errors, transposed numbers.Our business was advertising and details were important. If the third number after the second hyphen in a client’s toll-free number was a six instead of an eight, and if it went to print like that, and showed up in Time magazine, no one reading the ad could call now and order today. No matter they could go to the website, we still had to eat the price of the ad. Is this boring you yet? It bored us every day.Our boredom was ongoing, a collective boredom, and it would never die because we would never die.”
As Joshua writes, “it is really irritating to work with irritating people” !

For those you prefer to watch an online workspace odysee, have a look at an original webseries The Cube Life!
You will realize that some places or colleagues can be worse than yours.

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