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Avoid Toxic Coworkers to Be Happy in the Workplace

Negativity in the workplace is like a virus — sooner or later, it infects everyone. If you want to be a happy worker, try and avoid toxic workers. Consider the main types of toxic workers, and deal with them using the following tips. You may find your workplace a much better place to be.

The stress carriers

Ever work with someone who, when she enters the room, seems to instantly create chaos? Before she walked in, people were working away, productive, and in a good mood — but not anymore. Suddenly, tension permeates the air and all the good will between the employees evaporates. What was once a happy work place is no longer. Welcome to the world of the stress carrier.

Here are some ways to identify a stress carrier:

  • A rapid, loud, or pressured tone of voice

  • An aggressive body posture (for example, hand waving or finger pointing)

  • A defensive body posture (for example, arms crossed in front of chest)

  • A tendency to talk over other people in a conversation

  • Fixed, angry opinions

  • Use of obscenities

  • A tense facial expression (a frown or clenched jaw)

  • A jarring laugh

  • Head nodding

  • Finger tapping

  • A tendency to hurry up the speech of others by interjecting comments such as “Uh-huh,” “Right,” and “I know”

If you can avoid stress carriers, by all means do so. Their unhappiness is contagious. If you’re around them very much, you’ll end up feeling stressed and out of sorts yourself. Remember: People can only get to you if you let them.

Is it possible that you could be a stress carrier yourself? Check out the list and see if you have any of those stress-carrier characteristics. Better yet, ask someone you work with who knows you well to examine the list and tell you what she thinks. Be careful, though: You may not like what she says.

The naysayers

Fred was the chief financial officer (CFO) of a large corporation that was undergoing drastic changes. The chief executive officer (CEO) had abruptly resigned, leaving the institution with significant financial and morale problems. Everywhere you turned, there was an air of uncertainty among those employees who remained. No one was happy.

An acting CEO had been named, whose job it was to carry the institution through this crisis — and she needed the cooperation of Fred and other members of senior management to make this happen. However, Fred was a naysayer, the type of person who always has a negative comment, refuses to consider the merits of other people’s suggestions, and balks at any attempt to change things.

The acting CEO had strongly admonished Fred on several occasions about always being so negative. But Fred persisted, until one day, right in the middle of a meeting, the CEO had heard enough. She abruptly halted the meeting, telling everyone else except Fred that they were excused.

Two hours later, all the senior staff were called to another emergency meeting, at which time the CEO matter-of-factly advised them that Fred had decided to resign immediately and would be leaving by the end of the workday. Everyone was stunned, but not surprised — except maybe Fred.

Would you hang around someone at work who was sick with a cold — coughing, sneezing, wiping his runny nose? You’d probably stay as far away from him as possible to preserve your health, right? And you wouldn’t feel guilty about doing so either. Well, that’s exactly what you should do when you run into a naysayer.

However, if it’s impossible to avoid that person, counter his negatives with some positives of your own — in other words you be a yeasayer.

No matter how high you are on the organizational chart, no one likes a naysayer. If you’re the type of person who can offer both criticism and positive suggestions, don’t worry. But, if you’re all negative all the time, your days at your current job may be numbered.

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