Whether you are single or married, do you find yourself seeming to interact more with the people at work rather than at home or with your friends?  Just like in romantic relationships and in friendships, you can become attracted to or attract the wrong types of co-workers.  Below are 10 different types of  “toxic workers,” You will want these types of people on your radar so you can diminish interactions and set boundaries to enhance your possibilities for workplace productivity, recognition, success and above all, wellness.

  1. The Intruder: This is the worker who seems to alienate others, fostering an encounter that almost everyone avoids. This person wastes your precious time by hanging over your desk, stopping you in the break room, bathroom, and conference room by going into exquisite detail of the latest events in his or her life, over sharing inappropriate personal information, or gossiping about co-workers.  Right when you are in the middle of completing a task, the Intruder shows up…sometimes several times a day to share random thoughts that he or she thinks you would want to know. Handling the Intruder requires you to:
  • Establish boundaries of what is acceptable to you such as discussing only topics or information that contribute to understanding or to assist you in more efficiently completing projects and products. Directly communicate with the Intruder about acceptable topics and time guidelines while informing that secrets or gossip are off limits in the workplace.
  • Learn to say “no” or “stop.” This is not about manners or being polite.  It is about valuing yourself, your time, and your goals enough to interrupt the Intruder’s conversations before your time is wasted and you become annoyed.  It is about you literally standing up, stating your needs in a productive, assertive manner, and leaving the room or telling the person you must return to work on your project.  Afterwards, make sure you follow through with ignoring or going into another space to keep the offender away.
  1. Glory Monger: This person craves being the center of attention in conversations and being recognized for accomplishments. This type of individual can be frustrating and demoralizing, especially when you have been the catalyst for innovation or performed the majority of the work, You can help yourself by:
    • Touting your own contributions and successes. This is not about being egocentric, it’s about acknowledging your greatness and letting others know your skills and the ways you impact the company or results.
    • Don’t take the Glory Monger’s actions personally…these actions suggest problems with self-esteem and personal security.
  1. The Expert: No matter the idea or solution, the Expert seems to know it all.  He or she somehow persistently and consistently comes up with one-upman-ship, trouncing on the platform as the ultimate authority on every subject or task.
    • Take a deep breath and remember that when others put you down on a consistent basis, they are displaying their own sense of insecurity. In other words, it’s about them, not you.
    • Stay confident and affirm yourself knowing your ideas, efforts, and contributions speak for themselves.
  1. CoworkerThe Charmer: Do you know someone with magnetic powers that seem to so easily attract others to them?  People around you clamor to be in their inner circle, hoping the Charmer’s magical charisma wears off on them.  Unfortunately, although these people may be alluring and often socially and physically attractive, they offer little assistance or emotional support.  A misconception frequently occurs that if you are associated or involved in a relationship with charmers (attractive, persuasive, dynamic, handsome or beautiful), you’ll heighten your own level of attractiveness and success.
    • Practice “conscious acceptance™” whereby you avoid criticism and judgment of the Charmer, or their followers.
    • Remember, it’s more important to have a few trustworthy co-workers and confidants who hold and demonstrate positive feelings for you – Those whom you can reliably count on to be honest and truly be of help to you.
  1. The Leech: Like the high school classmate who peered over your shoulder on assignments and tests, this office mate copies your work and rides on your ideas and strategies to execute his or her plans and complete projects.  You were miffed and uncomfortable back in school.  Similarly, you lack respect for this individual who pretends to be working and putting out effort.
    • Rather than complaining to another coworker which makes you look like you’re jealous, dislike the individual, or face the dangerous possibility of your private conversation leaking out, talk instead to an appropriate person in your hierarchy such as a HR representative or your immediate supervisor.
    • If this is your own business, you have the right to confront this individual about specific details of behaviors and actions, suggest action steps, changes in behavior, and terminate this individual if specific results are not attained.
  1. The Saboteur: The Saboteur tends to undermine your presentation, your actions, and your desired results.  For instance the Saboteur, as a supervisor or “teammate,” may withhold information or assigns you meaningless tasks to prevent you from getting the recognition and successfully achieving goals that you deserve.   The Saboteur could also send you on a wild goose chase with list after list of tasks that must be completed before you can rise to the next level.  Unfortunately, the endless series of tests and jumping hoops continue for you. key to living or working with a critic is to “depersonalize.” In other words, avoid taking the other’s actions personally.
    • If indeed this person is in a position of power, it is time to change your work situation rather than trying to change the Saboteur.
    • Empower yourself by looking for other positions in which you are valued and allowed to truly prove your abilities.
    • While searching other jobs or after getting another job offer, remember that this uncomfortable situation is temporary.
  1. The Critic: No matter what you say, how you state ideas, or your efforts to persuade a client or a boss, the Critic is quick to point out your downfalls. The critic may even go so far as to publically humiliate you in front of your supervisors, peers, subordinates or even friends and family.  Sarcasm and belittling you are common tools of the Critic.  Like the Saboteur, the Critic is the bully in the office whether the actions are overtly or covertly expressed.
    • The key to living or working with a critic is to “depersonalize.” In other words, avoid taking the other’s actions personally.
    • Recognize and understand that the Critic is consistent in his or her behaviors toward others; you are not being singled out.
    • Maintain your own level of acceptance and love for yourself.
  1. The Pessimist: Some people tend to drain the life, the energy, and the enthusiasm out of you.  This is the pessimist who is negative about any suggestions or discussions that are brought up.  This type of person is demoralizing and sucks the motivation and energy out of the team, the company, and you.
    • Don’t be the rescuer and try to change this person by using logic or exaggerating your own buoyant attitude to encourage the Pessimist to be more optimistic, happier, and lighter. Your caretaking efforts will result in frustration, irritation and loss of energy for you.
    • Instead, when the person complains or points out the negatives, dismiss, and release the negative energy around you by owning your own thoughts and feelings that promote well-being.
  1. The Procrastinator: The Procrastinator can easily distress an organization and pervasively spread the pressure, stress, and feelings of urgency onto others.  This individual seems to be disorganized, unfocused, and has difficulty getting started, following up, and completing tasks.  As the deadline for an assignment or projected task nears, the Procrastinator spreads his or her panic and stress with barked orders, impatience, irritability, and demands what others must do to help him or her meet the deadline.  This type of individual does not learn the lesson and keeps repeating this pattern of unfocused, scattered delayed actions, resulting in exhaustive mental, emotional, and physical energy that is exerted in the Procrastinator and you.  The result is often insufficient, contains careless errors, is not properly executed, and does not achieve the desired result.
    • Again, you are not the caretaker for this individual. Be careful of becoming an enabler – unconsciously ingraining and maintaining another’s undesirable and unacceptable behaviors.
    • Allow the Procrastinator to fail, allowing responsibility for his or her own actions and the resulting natural consequences.
  1. The Romantic: In work environments where you are working closely with others, it is easier than ever to become involved in a work romance. Trips away or long days and nights in the office in which you are spending time together strategizing, meeting customers, attending conferences, and later relaxing with meals, drinks and personal conversations, can quickly pervade the boundaries of co-workers or teammates.  The co-worker can seem so understanding and supportive, because they see first hand all the hard work you do and the challenges you face in doing your job.  It’s easy to start an “emotional affair” or be seduced when this peer seems so perfectly compassionate, helpful, and genuinely caring.  The co-worker can seem irresistible especially if your partner at home doesn’t give you attention, doesn’t seem to understand, etc. It’s flattering and uplifting for the recipient to enjoy being desired and feeling special. Know the dangers of an “emotional affair.” Emotional attachment can easily progress to physical affection and sexual acts.
  • Commit to talking honestly to your partner at home about your needs and wants to create deeper love, affection, and being valued, prioritized, and respected.
  • Avoid using the romantic as your confessional work partner.
  • If you ever have the “yuck factor,” in which you feel uncomfortable being around this Romantic, keep interactions minimal and in public.
  • Maintain physical boundaries and verbally inform the person to STOP inappropriate behaviors. Standing up for yourself empowers you and clarifies unwelcome behaviors.
  • Note any inappropriate comments or touches and promptly notify the pertinent individuals as outlined in your organization’s manual.

All change begins with awareness.  I want you to know that becoming aware of your own needs and wants is essential for self care in the workplace.  You don’t have to tolerate any of these behaviors from toxic people in your life.  You can choose to take action by talking directly and honestly about your behaviors you desire or find offensive, avoiding personalizing the comments and actions of others, maintaining skills to promote emotional wellness.   In work and in your personal life you choose the people that you associate and allow into your inner circle who are affirming and supportive of you and your success.