Seven Signs of a Toxic Work Relationship & What You Can Do About It

Toxic. Aghhh.

Merely typing the word gives us agita. Unfortunately though every work relationship isn’t always healthy so it’s important to recognize the unhealthy signs and then take action.

In particular, sometimes we end up being in an unhealthy relationship too long or in a healthy one that turns sour that we don’t even recognize that it’s downright bad for us.

According to a press release we received from Van Moody, author of The People Factor, there are several tell-tale signs that your relationship with your boss and/or colleagues are going south.

1. Stifle your talent and limit advancement opportunities.
2. Twist circumstances and conversations to their benefit.
3. Chide or punish you for a mistake rather than help you correct it.
4. Remind you constantly or publicly of a disappointing experience or unmet expectations.
5. Take credit or withhold recognition for new ideas and extra effort.
6. Focus solely on meeting their goals and do so at your expense.
7. Fail to respect your need for personal space and time.

A solution to dealing with such toxicity aside from sprinting to the nearest exit door involves setting boundaries. Essentially, they’ll remind other people of what you will tolerate and what you won’t. They’ll prevent people from taking too much of your time or energy.

Moody explains per the release, “Be warned, toxic people don’t like boundaries because they want to shift responsibilities according to their mood or the project. It is important to recognize that toxic people create work environments that mirror their personal environments. They want to operate where they are most comfortable. They will not set the boundaries for you.”

For instance, if a colleague is extremely negative and constantly gossiping, you can say, “Let’s focus on finishing the quarterly projections instead of the latest gossip about the CEO so we can get home early.”