5 Symptoms of Toxic People at Work

Flourishing in your career or leaving it unsuccessfully does not only come from how well you perform at your job. A very large part of this comes from the energy around you and the energy that you contribute to your environment. Aside from personal growth, the kind of energy you have and surround yourself with is also factored in when it comes to your team’s overall success. You may be the best of the best at what you do, bringing highly developed skills and a talent for the field on the table, but if you approach opportunities with toxic, negative energy, your output will most likely be just somewhere around average.

Optimism is a key player in your journey to success because, without it, you can become more vulnerable to what energy the people around you spreading. However, a positive outlook in life can only do so much. While you have absolute control of what you believe in and what you project to others, but you will not always be capable of preventing the kind of energy that toxic people at work will have.

Toxic people give out negative energy for their own reasons. Sometimes these are reasons within their control, but most of the time, they are not. Toxic people are quick to influence the energy wherever they maybe because of the scale of their actions. They like creating drama, they project jealousy and envy towards others, and most of the time are unwilling to cooperate to achieve better results. Studies conducted in the past have found that even a single toxic person in the workplace can decrease job satisfaction, lower productivity, cause increased stress, exhibit rude behavior, and much more.

In order to improve the quality of your work environment, it is important that you understand and learn how to effectively deal with toxic people and prevent them from causing your whole team to fall apart and drop into a downward spiral. Identifying and dealing with toxic people at work can be difficult and very uncomfortable but it is something you should do to avoid falling vulnerable and having your performance affected by theirs. Here are a few of the symptoms to look for in toxic people:

  1. They are opinionated and judgmental

Toxic people will find a way to point out flaws in every single thing they see because they would rather complain about other people’s faults than admit their own. They will always be very quick to turn the conversation back to you and look for mistakes you have made when you try to address their inappropriate behaviour.

Toxic people act like predators, watching your every move, waiting for that one mistake you will make. They will make sure you and everybody else will know it, with hopes of looking like the better person in the situation. Toxic people would go to extremes just to prove that they are right and better than everybody else. They will judge and voice out their opinions, taking a swipe at your self-esteem.

2. They have a habit of gaslighting

These people will not take accountability for their manipulative behaviour and will deny as much as they can. When confronted with evidence, they can become dismissive and ignore you.

Toxic people all have the habit of conditioning the people around them instead of addressing their negative and manipulative behaviour. They will make you believe that it is your fault, and that they have nothing to do with anything you are going through.

3. They are pathological liars

Toxic people constantly lie, even about the things that nobody usually cares about. They would exaggerate facts or completely make things up.

They always have an excuse for everything, even those that do not require them. When caught in a lie, toxic people do not express remorse or embarrassment. They overcompensate and makeup lies faster than you can come up with questions.

Similar to their gaslighting habit, they manipulate the situation and never take accountability, always ending up blaming other people for their actions. Instead of working out their inappropriate behavior, they spend more time rationalising and justifying their actions.

4. They seek attention and brag about everything

These people take the life out of the people around them. They do not simply ask for attention – they demand it. Often done in the form of bragging, toxic people have the need to announce their accomplishments boiling inside them because of their insecurities. They feel inferior and overcompensate to make themselves appear superior to others.

Toxic people find happiness in making sure that the people around them are evidently miserable. They will always talk about their achievements and sometimes even take credit for someone else’s accomplishments to feel validated.

5. They take everything and give nothing in return

Toxic people take everything from the people around them as long as they are able or willing. It may be time, attention, or material things, but understand these people will gladly take what they can from you without considering giving something back. This is one of the most common ways toxic people manipulate others. Whether it’s a tiny mint or a day to spend with them – toxic people will make sure that they benefit from you more than you do from them.

As manipulative as they can get, toxic people are able to take something from you and hurt you but still justify their actions and make you believe that it is for your own wellbeing. They will not allow you to process your thoughts and emotions and gaslight you to make you believe that nothing is their fault.

Dealing with toxic people requires patience and plenty of time. Often outside assistance can be beneficial when dealing with toxic people. You must be able to predict their actions before you find yourself caught in the web of negativity that they are spinning around you. Keep in mind that this list of symptoms is not all-inclusive, and there are plenty more behaviours to spot when talking about toxic people at work. To learn more, check out this article from Science of People that explains the kinds of toxic people and gives you tips on how to deal with them!

If you are an individual or a leader who needs assistance to deal with toxic people in your organization and how to handle them, just send me a message today.

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