No matter which career path you choose, there are going to be toxic people and less-than-desirable situations throughout your working life. Maybe you love your job and your specialty, but it’s the people who are making you nuts. If that’s the case, whether you’re dealing with gossiping, backstabbing and just your basic run-of-the-mill high school behavior, Alicia-joy at Transitions in Nursing has some tips for how to deal and move on with your life.
When you find yourself talking to friends and family members for hours about particular coworkers who really get under your skin, you just may be in a toxic workplace. When you get to work and the first thing you check is who is on shift with you–while praying in the back of your mind that Negative Nellys aren’t on today–you just may be in a toxic workplace.
Now here’s the thing: Working with a few toxic people may not actually make the whole workplace toxic…It just FEELS that way to you.
Step 1: Step away from the gossip.
Gossip contributes to a negative environment. Think about it–most gossip is negative. It’s sensational by nature, so most gossip is about negative aspects/behavior of another person’s life. The more you entangle yourself in the “he-said-she-said,” the more wrapped up you are in the web of negativity. If you are a chief gossiper, you really have little room to criticize other toxic behavior. Gossiping is toxic also. But don’t feel bad.
If you want to change that habit, try going on a gossip free diet for 21 days. I once read the book The 4 Spiritual Laws of Prosperity by Edwene Gaines. The author explains how she went on a “negativity” / “gossiping” diet for 21 days which changed her life. Give it a whirl and see how it goes. You know when you are starting to gossip, step away. Don’t be a part of that mix. When the conversation starts, excuse yourself. Quickly.
Step 2: Respond. Don’t react.
We are reactive by nature. Something happens, we react. For every action there is an equal or opposite reaction, right? Wrong. When it comes to interpersonal relations at the workplace, you are better of responding. Here’s the difference in responding and reacting:
You’re in the hallway getting ready to go in to do an assessment. Toxina walks by and says something rude under her breath so nobody hears, but you heard it loud and clear. You stop what you are doing, look her dead in the face, and loudly ask her “What did you just say?” Or worse yet, you give her something back just as nasty as she gave you.
Same scenario as above, but instead of reacting, you just quietly say, “Excuse me?” to clarify what she said. Typically, Toxinas don’t have the courage to repeat their negativity. Or better yet, you ignore her. Then, if you feel it is serious enough that you do need to talk to her about the situation, choose to ask her about it later in a private situation. The advantage to that is you have had time. Time allows us to cool down. We have all done and said things in a split second that we regret later. Time is the key to responding over reacting.
Check out Alicia’s other two tips over at Transitions in Nursing then give us your own in the comments below.