Before they change you...
In their book, Toxic Workplace!, Mitchell Kusy and Elizabeth Holloway define toxic personality as “anyone who demonstrates a pattern of counterproductive, work behaviour that debilitate individuals, teams, and even organizations over the long term.” Harboring negative feelings could prove detrimental to not just others. It could linger within and ruin you, even without your knowledge.
Ionce had a manager for whom every meeting was a battle ground, an opportunity to demonstrate how he was better than others. Slowly but surely, people started avoiding him. When he began to speak, everyone would simply disengage. Work suffered initially, and the team, eventually. Some good people even left.
Time and again, we have been troubled by this question: what went wrong? What is it that made things go
from bad to worse? Or worse, how do you know for sure that it was not your fault?
time to face the mirror
Heard somebody whispering and concluded that it was about you? Every time somebody at work is having a ‘personal’ conversation, do you feel the need to interfere and point out that they should be ‘working’? Somebody has an opinion that you do not agree with, do you stomp
your feet and walk out of the room? Do you have a hard time appreciating others, but are quick at finding faults? These are just questions that you need to be true to. If the answer to any of these is a yes, there might just be the need to recalibrate.
the need to self-promote is masked It all begins with a deep sense of insecurity often masked by your need to be right every single time. This plays out in different versions with different leaders, but the aftereffects are all the same. One single negative thought can ruin a beautifully crafted speech and a single doubt is usually the prime culprit. It brings along an unreasonable plague of thoughts that hits you with the pressure to succeed. But somewhere under the surface rests a fear.
The fear of ‘what if I cannot make it?’ The fear of rejection, the fear of failure. Yes, there can be other reasons as well like work pressure or the lack of job satisfaction, or recognition. But if you have not been yourself for a while and start getting irritated at every small little thing that happens, it is time to ask yourself some questions.
■ are you an extreme workaholic?
■ do you have a hard time saying sorry?
■ do you find it a waste of time to appreciate a fellow colleague?
■ are you easily jealous of your fellow co-workers?
If your answer to most of the above questions is an immediate yes, maybe it is ‘you’ who is nurturing a toxic behavior at the workplace. If being highly judgmental, communicating in a passive-aggressive tone, and feeling happy seeing somebody else being scolded comes naturally to you, it is high time to bring about a positive change in your life.
If being highly judgmental, communicating in a passive-aggressive tone, and feeling happy seeing somebody else being scolded comes naturally to you, it is high time to bring about a positive change in your life.
How to get over it? Follow the simple seven-course path of impactful As.
01 being aware: ‘something is not right’
Our sub-conscious mind often warns us about certain things we casually disregard, believing that the thought will go away if we ignore it long enough. But what if we instead choose to question the thought and delve deeper?
02 acknowledge: ‘I think there is a problem’
Things have not been the same lately. You see a difference in your behavior and you realize that your attitude is hurting somebody else. People have even stopped including you in conversations lately. Would you still want to ignore the thought?
03 accept: ‘yes, I have a problem.’
Stop being so hard on yourself—you made a mistake, take ownership. Living in denial will only help your insecurities grow. It is never too late to say sorry and make things right.
04 address: ‘I need a solution to my problem.’
If there exists a problem, then there will also be a solution. Once you step onto the path of introspection, there is no turning back. Even if you have the most tyrannical boss, what stops you from being calm and finding a solution to deal with the situation?
05 alter: ‘I need a change.’
It all begins with a thought and it does not happen in a single day either—one change at a time. Today, you try appreciating a colleague, tomorrow, you try listening to somebody else’s point of view. Eventually, as you experience the negativity flowing out, the optimism will help bring back the old you.
06 action: ‘I need to change.’
Most of us have goals, but lack a plan to get there, which causes a lot of the frustration. It is time to create a plan. You can make minor adjustments along the way, but your main motto must be to take the first step. To make the first move. To start.
07 be amazed: ‘I can do it.’
Believe in yourself because the power to make a difference always come from within. Just as water detoxifies our body, positive thoughts help detoxify our mind.
Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.— Aristotle
Make friends with your thoughts. What stands in your way? What is really stopping you from succeeding? Think more about the task you need to accomplish than how to ensure that somebody does not receive a promotion. Think solutions as opposed to problems. Understand the root cause first and then look for a suitable solution. List down your strengths first and celebrate them. Study the available pool of resources and then deep dive into tackling one weakness at a time.
Communicate more often, maintain an objective process of decision-making, and accept that everybody is fighting their own personal battle to be themselves at the workplace. Gratitude is a great way to build confidence and enhance our inner optimism levels. The feeling of contentment that you get when somebody says ‘thank you’ for your kindness, that is the ultimate treatment to rinse yourself of all toxins.
Do your job diligently and the rest shall simply follow. ■
Gratitude is a great way to build confidence and enhance our inner optimism levels.