If You Notice These 10 Behaviors, You Have A Toxic Coworker

Toxic co-workers unfortunately have a lot of power—they have the ability to make our daily lives suck, they can inhibit us from succeeding in the workplace, and they can make us look bad in front of our boss.

Whatever they’re doing, it’s something that you need to get ahead of. In order to do that, here are some ways to spot those toxic team members.

1. Constant negativity

The most toxic of co-workers have something negative to say about EVERYTHING. Whether it’s the lack of fruit in the office or they don’t like the project they’re working on, instead of offering solutions, they complain. Not only does it bring the mood down, but it also drains any energy or excitement other people at work may have.

These people are energy vampires and they’re exhausting to deal with. Who wants to listen to someone who constantly complains and criticizes? No one. Plus, it’s common to pick up the habits of those around you—meaning that their negativity might rub off on you from time to time.

2. No empathy

A toxic co-worker isn’t going to be sympathetic to your feelings or experiences. They might nod along and say “I get it” but they’re probably not even listening. Because the truth is, they don’t care. They’re out for themselves—they’re the type of person who would go behind your back and badmouth you to other co-workers or even your boss. We say that to say: be careful what leaves your mouth around them.

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4. Intellectual Bullying

Some of the worst kinds of toxic co-workers will use their intellect to demean others. They’ll be extremely condescending and do things like use complex words to confuse or intimidate you or wave away your ideas because they think you’re not as smart as them. We know, icky.

5. Lack Of Accountability

It’s the worst when someone won’t admit wrongdoing. What’s even worse is when they blame the infraction on someone else. But that’s what toxic co-workers do—they point the finger at others and make excuses without ever taking an ounce of responsibility. Major eye roll.

6. Cooperating Only On Their Terms

You know the type: they’re super helpful and nice and cooperative…when it benefits them.

But when it doesn’t? They not only refuse to work together but they’ll hide information or even try to sabotage you. That’s because they care more about prioritizing their own interests above the company’s—they’re only out for their personal gain.

7. Emotional Manipulation With The Silent Treatment

Toxic co-workers are extremely passive-aggressive—meaning, they’ll intentionally ignore or exclude certain people as a way to control the situation or punish someone.

Refusing to communicate or engage is not only passive-aggressive, it’s bullying. It makes the target of the toxic co-worker’s behavior feel belittled, insignificant, and isolated from the rest of the team. This can lead to feelings of self-doubt and anxiety.

8. Micromanaging

We’ve all met someone who micromanages—they always get in the way of your work, monitor you like a new parent, and don’t trust in your abilities to get the job done. This is a huge sign of a toxic co-worker. Now, that doesn’t mean all micromanagers are toxic, but if someone is a micromanager along with other behaviors on this list, rest assured they’re toxic as heck. They might also be a condescending person, which makes them even worse.

9. Micro Monitoring

This one is an element of micromanaging. It’s the behavior of—you guessed it—constantly monitoring the progress of work projects and tasks. That means your toxic coworker (whether you like it or not) is going to be regularly checking in, asking for updates, or reviewing your work. Sigh.

10. Undermining

And not just any type of undermining—they do it passively. Meaning, they will subtly sabotage their colleagues instead of overtly through backhanded compliments, subtle but hurtful criticisms, and questioning someone in front of the whole company. They’ll do anything they can to withh0ld information or resources that would increase their coworkers’ progress and success because they want to be the one at the top.

11. Discrimination

Sadly, this behavior is still alive. Toxic co-workers will engage in prejudiced behavior that’s directed towards specific people based on race, gender, religion, or sexual orientation. This makes their co-workers feel ashamed, belittled, or devalued because of their identity.