Simple rules to deal with toxic behavior in the team

Do you know what the biggest decease of the 21st  century is?  It is not a new virus,  or cancer,  or the hungry people out there( no matter what some organizations claim).  The biggest decease has become the stress we experience in our lives.  And particularly the negative stress.  We live on high speed our social  and family  life,  we work like robots and try  to  cover as many  responsibilities as we can,  to  sustain our work status (or at least most of us)

Our family causes us stress,  our environment causes us stress,  our colleagues cause us to stress with their behavior and attitude.  Now here I’ll cover some

Surviving the ups, downs, and lightning storms of other people’s moodiness can be quite a challenge.  It’s important, though, to remember that some moody, negative people may be going through a difficult stage in their lives.  They may be ill, chronically worried, or lacking what they need in terms of love and emotional support.  Such people need to be listened to, supported, and cared for (although whatever the cause of their moodiness and negativity, you may still need to protect yourself from their behavior at times).

But there’s another type of moody, negative behavior: that of the toxic bully, who will use his or her mood swings to intimidate and manipulate.  It’s this aspect of moodiness that inflicts enduring abuse and misery.  If you observe these people closely, you will notice that their attitude is overly self-referential.  Their relationships are prioritized according to how each one can be used to meet their selfish needs.  This is the kind of toxic behavior I want to look at in this post.

I’m a firm believer that toxic mood swings (like chain letter emails) should not be inflicted on one person by another, under any circumstances.  So how can you best manage the fallout from other people’s relentless toxicity?

Stop  pretending everything is OK
Many people think that if they have a toxic person in their team and give that person what he/she wants in the short term,  this will solve all the problems.  Well,  this strategy fails every time.  If you give something now, you will need to give something again and in the long term, the pain in the team will increase.  When tolerating constant drama, you grant your team pain in every area. That is why you need to stop searching for a short term decision and think long term. Toxic people don’t change because they are rewarded to stay the same. 

But if you want to move forward you will need to…

Speak Up!
Many people silently tolerate the toxic behavior because don’t have enough self-confidence to speak up for themselves.  Toxic people do everything that they can to make personal gains at the expense of others.  Some of them may use anger to influence others,  or may not respond when people are trying to communicate, or interrupt and start speaking about something valuable to someone else.  Not mentioning someone’s toxic behavior can make the person feel like a small pawn in a big chess game.  The other will need to stand out against such a toxic behavior upfront and realize how toxic behavior impacts and changes their behavior. Direct speech about what has been observed as a toxic behavior can help people to disarm the toxic person.  Even if the toxic person denies the words coming from others these words will make them aware that their behavior has been spotted from someone else as an issue.    

And is peaking up does not deliver expected results you and others can move to…

Put your foot down
People will have to learn(some of them the hard way) that if they want to survive against toxic behavior they will have to find a way to defend themselves. Your dignity may be attacked, but it can never be taken away unless you willingly surrender. In most cases, you may not be able to change the toxic behavior, but if you don’t show the strength and readiness to defend what is yours, the toxic behavior person will continue to insult you and others with their behavior. If people react to the toxic behavior they show that there won’t be any respect for this behavior and they are ready to stand out if they feel insulted.

Don’t take the toxic behavior personally
People need to understand that when they meet a toxic behavior it is more about the person with the toxic behavior then them.  Toxic people try to imply that others are doing something wrong.  They use that  “feeling guilty button” and hurt others’ confidence. If people take it personally they often fail in the trap of guiltiness.  They will need to realize that if they want to stand out and have the freedom to react to that behavior they will need to take it as a usual element of the environment. Even if the situation looks personal, it often does not have anything to do with a particular person or team.  What people with toxic behavior show to others and insist it is true is just their self-reflection state.

One way to react to toxic behavior is to…

Practice practical  compassion
Some toxic people are distressed, depressed,  but still, people need to separate their issues from how they behave toward others. They don’t have to let the toxic person get away, just because he or she feels distressed, depressed, etc. It makes sense for people to go carefully and with compassion, toward the toxic person for whom they know is going through difficult times or suffering from some illness. But still, if people go that way they still need to make it clear that the toxic behavior is not a desired or accepted behavior. Showing compassion to the state of mind and soul of toxic people does not mean to accept everything they do quietly, but learning to answer to ana aggressive behavior politely and show that they also have feelings and feel distressed for that type of behavior.

Take time for yourself.
If people are forced to live or work with a toxic person, then they ill need to allocate enough time to stay alone and relax.  Having to play the role of a “focused, rational adult” in the face of toxic moodiness can be exhausting, and if people are not careful, the toxicity can infect also them. So, to ensure that they can balance in a complex and toxic environment,  created by a particular person, they will need time for self-reflection.   

Move on without them.
We try to avoid this step,  and often it leads to changing ourselves in the toxic person direction. People don’t have to wait long and tolerate toxic behavior, just to save the status quo.  A toxic person is hard to change so if people want to keep the balance in the team they will need to act.  It is not wrong to cut the toxic person from the team.  When the leader of the team does that results go better within short periods. To ensure balanced and productive people need to act instead of staying reactive to the behavior of the toxic person.  We all seek healthy relationships that help us achieve better results. The one question, people need to  ask  themselves is “Do I need this person in my  life?” And if the answer is somewhere between “Don’t know” and “No” they need to act.

IN CONCLUSION:
A healthy relationship should give and take, but not in the sense that you’re always giving and they’re always taking.  If you must keep a truly toxic person in your life for whatever reason, then consider the remaining points…

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