How to handle five types of toxic co-workers

Like toxic waste, toxic co-workers have to be handled with care. And it’s not healthy to have prolonged exposure to either.

“Whether it’s chronic backstabbing, extreme defensiveness, narcissism, cruelty, bias, discrimination or other forms of mistreatment or misbehavior that they demonstrate, [toxic co-workers] are intolerable to work with or be around for an extended period,” says Kathy Caprino, founder of Connecticut-based career-coaching firm Ellia Communications. “They’re toxic because they’re like a poison to your system and to the organization’s ecosystem, making it hard to maintain your own well-being, professionalism, and collaborative spirit when you’re around them.”

Worse yet, working with a toxic co-worker can negatively impact your job performance and even derail your career if they’re allowed to continue their behavior.

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How to stop workplace gossip

No one likes a gossip queen (or king), Gossip-3but rest assured, every office has one.

Blame human nature, says career and business etiquette speaker Karen Litzinger. “People like to gossip,” she says. “It can be cathartic. It can also be a bonding experience” to commiserate with a co-worker. As the saying goes, misery loves company.

Obviously, office gossip can have some big repercussions. “It can damage not only your relationships with your colleagues, but also hurt your own reputation,” Litzinger says.

So, if you’re someone who’s doing the gossiping, it’s time to keep your lips sealed. But you also have to be mindful of what you say about co-workers over digital channels, like Slack, Gchat, or email.

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