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7 Toxic Personalities in the Workplace, and Tips on How to Handle Them

By hire-up-staffing in Industry Resources


7 Toxic Personalities in the Workplace, and Tips on How to Handle Them

Most offices and workplaces are conducive to productivity and are a healthy environment generally speaking. However, there may be the occasional “Negative Nancy” or “Judgmental Jim” (or some other type of persona in between whom you can’t seem to get off your back.)

Yes, while we could enjoy our jobs for the most part, there will almost always be that one person who is either at your desk constantly or would hover over you in a meeting or in the lunch room. He or she is toxic in one form or another, and they are unfortunately most likely part of your everyday routine.

What can you do about it? A lot! Even if it seems like you can’t seem to shake them off or escape them, the first thing to do is to identify them. Here are 7 types of toxic personalities you might find in your workplace:

1. The Pessimist – Otherwise known as Debbie Downers or Negative Nancys, these people are one of the easiest to identify as toxic. They’re energy vampires who would suck the fun out of everything and cannot appreciate anything positive in life.

2. The Schemer – Usually cunning and manipulative, these people are experts in figuring out what pushes your buttons and would unceremoniously do so just to get what they want. Oftentimes, you wouldn’t even notice you’ve been used and manipulated until after they got whatever it is they needed. They’re toxic because they get you to do things you probably don’t want to do and you end up doing stuff focused around their priorities.

3. The Narcissist – Like the Schemer, the Narcissist also thinks the world revolves around them. The difference is they aren’t as Machiavellian. They demand their needs with seemingly no remorse – either you meet their demands or get in trouble. They would probably make you want to have a nervous breakdown and scream, “You’re not the boss of me!” (There is a high chance he or she is, though.)

4. The Dream-Killer – Brutally honest, with emphasis on brutal. Like the Negative Nancys of the world, they love to explain in detail how impossible your dreams and aspirations are. These people are too stuck with what currently is instead of what could possibly be, and they will drag you down with them. Whether they mean to or not, they will kill your hopes and dreams with their words.

5. The Displeased – For these people, nothing is ever enough. You can never do or give enough to keep these types of people happy, and they might take you for granted for that. You will most likely shed out plenty of energy and time to try and meet their unrealistic expectations, and then they will blame you for things that they themselves should be responsible for in the first place.

6. The Hypercritical – These Judgmental Jims would always find a way to bring you down. For instance, if you think someone’s eclectic taste is cool, they would deem it “disturbing.” Or if you find something unique, they would say it’s “wrong.” Hanging out with condemnatory people like these might even turn you into a judgmental person yourself!

7. The Disrespectful – These types of people have no boundaries whatsoever. They say and do things at the most inopportune times. Maybe it’s a friend you confided in, and now he would use that information against you as blackmail. Maybe it’s that person you see every day in the elevator, you’re not that close, but she would put her nose into all your affairs.

What then, do you do about these types of people in the workplace? Sometimes, you can’t escape them and you certainly can’t change them. What you can do is move past their toxicity. Here are just a few tactics you can do:

1. Look Inside You – Do a personal power check. It may be difficult at first, but stop allowing their personalities to take up space in your head. They say it’s not the situation but how you react to it. We may not have control how people act, but we definitely have control on how we take their actions.

2. Distance Yourself – Again, it may be difficult especially if you share a workspace. However, do your best to put at least a physical distance from that toxic influence. Research shows that even just wearing headphones (even without playing music) is a buffer that people take as a cue that they will have to interrupt you if they need to talk. Also try taking lunch outside or walk to physically get away from time to time.

3. Be Assertive – Put your foot down when needed. You know your boundaries, so it’s time the toxic persons around you should know them. Just make sure it’s not personal – there’s a difference between a legitimate complaint about inappropriate office behavior and an unprofessional list of things they’ve done “wrong.” Be clear that he or she is actually breaking office rules and that it affects the workplace. There will most likely be some backlash, so be ready for it and don’t take that personally either.

4. Be the Positive Light – The best way to counter negativity is with positivity. Combat the toxic, soul-sucking personalities by surrounding yourself with people whose company you enjoy and give you energy. Spend more time with uplifting people, but also be careful to not be the negative one – check your self-talk. Ensure that when you’re thinking negative things, reframe them into positive thoughts. Who you are inside will resonate into who you are to those around you.

What do you think? Do you have any of these toxic personalities in your workplace? Please share!!



At Hire Up Staffing we build strong teams for strong leaders. We promote healthy work environments with educated team members. If you are looking for a job or an employee, give us a call (559)579-1331