• Chetan Walia



If you have a bit of luck, your coworkers will be more than colleagues- they'll be friends who go to bat for you, making sure you're treated fairly and get recognised for your accomplishments. But let's be honest. Not every throw of the dice wins. The sooner you can identify the toxic team members around you, the sooner you can guide them toward more positive, productive behaviours or keep the distance you need.

1: Behind your back, they minimise your accomplishments, criticise you and steal the spotlight.

Toxic coworkers often try to act like what you've done is no big deal, even when it is. At the same time, if you make a mistake, they'll chide you for it rather than helping you overcome your obstacles. They'll make it hard for you to move past earlier errors, bringing them up whenever they think it's appropriate, and that too behind your back. As they belittle you, if they have the chance to take the credit for work you or someone else has done, they'll do it.

2: They cut you off from opportunities.

Because toxic coworkers want attention focused on them, they won't let you shine. They won’t let you in on projects. Alternately, they might play mind tricks on you and persuade you to hold you back.

3: They don't respect your requests, space or time.

When a person is toxic, they might ask you to help them at the last minute or at odd times, or they keep interrupting you when you're trying to get work done. They even might perform unwanted gestures, such as putting their hand on your shoulder or "playfully" smacking you on the back for "comradeship". To them, all that matters is their goals, what they want, need or feel.

4: They lie.

Toxic people thrive on drama, so they frequently speak in ways that leave listeners uncertain about what they mean. They don't give details, and if you press for them, they evade you or outright lie. You might have trouble figuring out exactly what happened in a meeting based on their account, for example, or they might tell your boss you never gave them documents when you did. They'll say anything if it makes them seem right or like they have a better personality than they do.

5: They are never wrong.

Toxic coworkers love to badmouth others, but they cringe at the idea of taking responsibility for their own actions. They are always the victim. Their claim to fame is lies, stories, and putting others down.

6: They seem positive, pleasing, but don’t understand the meaning of "be positive".

The negativity that spews from a toxic coworker's mouth is so predictable you might as well set your watch by it. Yes it might take a while to spot one. Rather than focus on what's possible, they talk about what could go wrong. They do their best to make it seem like disaster is always impeding with your proposals, in part because then, when things go right, they can pat themselves on the back and promote themselves to others for "getting everybody through".

Toxic coworkers quickly can suck the life out of an otherwise pleasant job.

They are smooth workers. You wouldn’t know for a long time the games that are being played.

But you will figure eventually. Draw boundaries, stay clear, and confront publicly. Nothing else works !



Martin, H. (n.d.). The 10 Giveaway Signs of a Toxic Person--and How to Handle Them.

Taylor, N. (2015). Toxic Coworker Test: How to Identify and Avoid Them