Vincy Workplace
February 25, 2005
Toxic Colleagues

It has been said that when a person angers you he defeats you. If that is true, how many times have you been defeated this week?

With all its responsibilities, the work week can be gruelling. But it can be made worse by people who seem to leave home every day with a mission to simply annoy you and slow you down.{{more}}

Every workplace has at least one of these personality types; merely seeing them can be enough to upset your day. Be aware of their strategies and resist the urge to lose your self-control. Here are a few patterns to watch out for:

The Rebel. The rebel is that colleague who is never satisfied with any decision made by the leadership. The rebel is convinced he can do a better job and is constantly complaining about the dismal state of the organization. Keep this person at arm‚s length. While the rebel sometimes has good ideas, they often are lost in the person’s negative approach to the establishment.

The Patient. These people always have personal dramas going on in their lives that they feel they must describe to their co-workers. Their personal lives really aren’t personal; everyone around them knows all the details of the soap opera since the patient describes these events day in and day out.

Unfortunately, the patient ends up wasting valuable work time by coercing colleagues into listening and sympathizing with his problems. Cut the conversation short and let the patient know you have work to do.

The Pessimist. The pessimist sees nothing in life to hope for and is simply going through the motions of the job. He has no aspirations to move up in the organization and may even lash out at you if you discuss your dreams and hopes of moving up. Perhaps in the past the pessimist suffered a devastating setback in his career and never really recovered.

Don’t try to convert the pessimist; stick to your course and move on.

The Busy Bee. The busy bee is always on the move but accomplishes little.

The bee knows how to play the game and talks a lot about work. But when it comes to producing results the bee always comes up short, leaving the team to compensate. Don’t assign crucial tasks to the busy bee but hold him accountable for his share of the workload.

Regardless of whom you work with, you are ultimately in control of your own reaction to the people around you. You can choose to ignore them or employ some other adaptive strategy. Above all, take a hint from Charles Swindoll, who said life is 10 percent what happens to you and 90 percent how you react to it.