Diffusing toxic people at workplace

Having three years experience in the software industry, I have seen and experienced my fair share of toxic behavior by some of my colleagues at work.

Such people are generally good at heart, but when it comes to saving their reputation or hiding sloppy work done by them, they would be more than willing to throw other people under the bus with zero regrets.

Here you have two options on how to react in a reasonable way-

  1. Confront them on the spot, first asking them why they did that and then say that you feel what she is doing is not right. This will make them not do such things to you ever again and wouldn’t treat you as a push over. This is the easier option.
  2. The more difficult and MUCH more beneficial option, is to let it slide at the moment and take care of it in a while when you feel the time is appropriate, but never too late.  You tell what happened to your manager or stake holders in a way which seems like you are NOT complaining or pointing finger at that person, but you are just letting them know of the progress or situation.

There are three reasons why I suggest everyone to go with the second option.

a.  You would create a life long friction between you and the person who put you in bad light by going with the first option. The very people who tried to ruin my reputation before, vouch for my work ethics and deliverable’s quality today. They wouldn’t have stood by me, if I had questioned their bad behavior on that day. Benefits were multi-fold than the briefly lost reputation later on. No one would feel like they are a bad person when they do shitty things like that. Even Bin Laden told he is a good person when asked by a journalist. So, there’s that.

b.  Having no enemies at work place when you are just starting out in your career is very important. I can’t stress this enough. It’s almost guaranteed you will mess up stuff at one point or another and that person, might just save your day when you most need it.

c.  You are anyways letting know you manager about the situation indirectly. Let the toxic person enjoy his brief period of non accountability. He would most likely think people got tho know he was responsible for the bad situation in some other way.

After a while, such behavior by those colleagues will stop.. at least with you.


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