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Dealing with a toxic colleague

I’m often asked how to deal with the ‘toxic’ colleague. I was coaching a client last week who was feeling flat, and unmotivated, due to rumours that a colleague has been gathering a case for her dismissal. My client (we’ll call her x) convinced herself (and me) that she was getting fired!  The colleague (we’ll call her y) had no argument against x but simply didn’t like x’s approach to work.  X has been worrying because she feels the less confident of the two and doesn’t feel liker her voice is heard in the company.

Advice in this situation for x…

1. Gather fact based evidence on how you’ve contributed to the company. Have it at hand in case you need to pull it out of the bag and book a meeting with your line manager to talk to them about your concerns.

2. Take the lead, ask your colleague. For example, ‘I hear there are a few concerns about my performance, can I clarify anything for you? This way you are informing her/him that you are aware she/he is on your tail and offering to help them.

3. Try and get in to their head and understand as much as you can.  Why are they thinking this and behaving in this way?  Understanding them, and their personality, can prevent you from taking it all so personally. It could also strengthen your relationship and good relationships at work will help you through your day.

Worry is a useless emotion. Channel it and communicate!

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