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  • Writer's pictureEugene Roginsky

HAVING CONVERSATIONS WITH TOXIC PERSONALITIES


HAVING CONVERSATIONS WITH TOXIC PERSONALITIES at the WORKPLACE

HAVING CONVERSATIONS WITH TOXIC PERSONALITIES at the WORKPLACE


Part Two


Part One of this article explored the traits, communication styles, and potential behaviors of toxic individuals, with a primary focus on the workplace. However, the insights provided are applicable to various aspects of life. Recognizing that no situation is identical, each case demands careful consideration on an individual basis; there's no one-size-fits-all solution. Confronting toxic individuals requires courage, emotional resilience, the willingness to seek assistance, an understanding of one's rights, and the possibility of removing oneself from harmful environments. Interactions with toxic personalities can inflict negative physical, emotional, and psychological effects on unsuspecting victims. Seeking professional help is advisable when necessary; remember, support is available, and you don't have to face these challenges alone.


NOTE Toxic individuals typically exhibit the following behaviors:

  • Constantly gathering information about you and others.

  • Seeking any information that can be exploited for their benefit.

  • Potentially influencing good individuals to adopt toxic traits.



The Basics

• Trust your intuition.

• Pay attention to your physical symptoms.

• In the workplace, toxic individuals can impact turnover rates and project failure.

• Understand your rights. Get legal assistance if necessary.

• Choose your battles wisely. Avoid unnecessary arguments. Please consider: "Will my opinion be constructive, detrimental, or disregarded?"

• Be vigilant of boundaries. Toxic individuals will test every boundary. Reflect: "Do I find myself doing things I don't want to do or that contradict my beliefs?"

• Prioritize your wants and needs (practice mindfulness) when assessing your circumstances.

• Ensure personal safety. Toxic individuals can resort to violence and destruction. With disregard for boundaries and impulsivity, they can pose a threat. Be safe and know the laws.

• Cultivate your support network. In a workplace setting, familiarize yourself with your colleagues and their roles. Toxic individuals recruit people through manipulation to be on their side. When confronted with toxic colleagues, you may need to build your own support system.

• Refrain from performing tasks for a toxic individual that they can do themselves. BEING NICE DOES NOT WORK.

• Avoid soliciting favors. Toxic individuals keep a record.

• Avoid leaving personal information (cell phone, tax returns, bills, personal letters, private notes, etc.) accessible to a toxic individual. These people have no boundaries. If your personal information is within the site, it will not be considered ‘private’ by toxic people.

• Refrain from oversharing personal details or history that could be weaponized against you.

• Do not endorse slander against others, even if you privately agree with the toxic individual.

• Abstain from speaking negatively about anyone, including those unknown to the toxic individual.

• Exercise caution in written or voicemail communication.

• Prioritize self-care: Learn techniques for emotional regulation.

• Recognize that exiting the situation may be the best course of action. IT IS ACCEPTABLE TO DISCONNECT!


When communicating with toxic personalities


When communicating with toxic personalities:


• Maintain composure: Avoid contentious discussions with volatile individuals when emotions are high. Be prepared to disengage from the conversation. When possible, offer alternative times/dates to continue the conversation. “I see we are off-topic and you are feeling emotional. I want to hear you, but I cannot discuss this now. Let’s reschedule for next Wednesday between 1 pm and 3 pm.”

• Provide the individual with an opportunity: Initially address concerns directly before escalating to higher authorities. Keep HR intervention as an option.

• Personalize interactions: Use the individual’s name during your conversation with a toxic personality. "John, am I understanding you correctly?"

• Intentional and Mirroring dialogue: Pay attention to body language and vocal cues during conversations. For instance, if the other person is sitting, try to sit across from them and mirror their posture. Additionally, consider using descriptive language to engage their senses—what they might be hearing, seeing, smelling, and feeling. Stay fully present in your communication.

Control the timing and scope of conversations: "John, let's discuss the Power of Attorney forms by Friday. I'm available on Thursday and Wednesday between 1 pm and 5 pm. What works for you?"

Stay focused. Redirect discussions back to established goals (offer time caps): "Nancy, our goal is to review our admissions criteria. Let's stick to the agenda due to time constraints. The issues you brought up are important. We can address them within the next three weeks."

• Seek compromise: Aim for mutual satisfaction. Reinforce compromises with "I feel" statements. “I feel that when we initiated our talks, we were both on opposite sides of the issue. I feel that after this meeting, we are in agreement.” When necessary, consider having witnesses present: Refrain from engaging in private discussions with toxic individuals, as they often disregard boundaries. Be prepared for your words to be purposefully misconstrued to serve their own agenda.

Employ strategic flattery: "I'd value your experienced opinion on this matter.”

• Assert your position: Establish a position of authority. “As a manager, I believe this is the proper course of action.

• Assert boundaries: Ensure that your boundaries are clear and unequivocal.

         

Toxic personalities vary along a spectrum, but when dealing with such individuals in the workplace, the most effective approach is early detection and avoidance whenever feasible. It's important to recognize that removing oneself from such dynamics isn't a sign of weakness; rather, it's often necessary to prevent unnecessary pain and drama. Remember, most decent people prefer to steer clear of conflicts, whereas those exhibiting toxic traits often thrive on them. However, if engaging with toxic individuals becomes unavoidable, don't hesitate to seek support—you're not alone in facing such challenges.

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