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Toxic Behaviours At Work


Some people are very difficult to work with. Funnily enough – often the higher up the management chain the more difficult the personality. If you are really unlucky you may even get a boss that the media loves to call a “psychopath”. Often the type of person to get to the top tends to also be just a little bit ruthless.


Individuals are likely to be labelled toxic when their negative attitudes, rudeness, criticism and sense of entitlement become pervasive and have a substantial impact on the workplace. Whether or not an individual can be labelled as toxic is probably not the key. The point here is not to teach you how to define ‘toxic’, however. Rather, it is to help you gain the skills to understand your own feelings about people you find difficult to get along with, and reflect on how you can better cope with them.


Building Resiliency – The Key


Individuals respond differently to difficult individuals at work. How do you tend to respond?

1. Aggressively, and sometimes I act out in anger.
2. Passively, and sometimes I blame myself and futilely work to appease the toxic person
3. I feel attacked and feel I’m the victim.

Al Siebert, PhD suggests in his best-selling book The resiliency advantage © 2005 that there is another type of respond to this kind of workplace challenge. He suggests that people can get through the distress to cope well with immediate problems and come out of adversity stronger than ever. These people have the ability to transform difficult circumstances. He reports that the latest psychological research indicates that resilience can be learnt.


What Is Resiliency?


Resiliency is the result of real world based self esteem derived from what an individual accomplishes and his or her own unique talents. A resilient individual is one who is aware of their individual strengths and what they offer as a human being.


The Resiliency Advantage


Building resiliency will assist you to respond to toxic individuals with considered choices and cope better with adversity. You can’t change toxic individuals and it can be immensely distressing to work with someone who is extremely emotionally negative and demeaning. Positively, you can strengthen your level of resiliency and learn to take control of this situation and others in your life.

There are a range of things to take into consideration when in this type of situation, and further tips to help you to deal with these kinds of individuals and environments. Should you wish to obtain coaching and support with respect please don’t hesitate to contact Wellbeing Therapy Collective.


The psychologists at Wellbeing Therapy Collective can provide assistance by not only giving you a platform to vent, but also helping you build the long lasting skills useful in dealing with challenging people and situations in your life.

For more information, or to make your appointment, please call us on 1300 208 680.



Author: Rebecca Dallard

Photo: Courtesy of Lisa Tones Photography