Charming, isn’t it? That is the title of the most recent series at the church that I attend (Eastlake Community Church), and I Ioved today’s message. I promise that this blog is not going to become a pulpit, but the topic today really resonated with me (and I’m assuming it should or could resonate with all of us since at some point we all have to work!). So, I decide to share. I promise that it’s “blog worthy.”
The topic today was toxic coworkers, who certainly don’t seem to be in short supply at times! We all know the type of people that I am talking about, those people who have a remarkable ability to de-energize those around them, devaluing others work and creating an environment of animosity, passive-aggressiveness, and mistrust. Quite possibly, you are thinking of someone specific. Or perhaps for those of you who are extremely introspective, you are reflecting on your own actions at work. Either way, there are a variety of things we need to understand about toxic coworkers in order to move forward confidently (and appropriately) in the workplace.
If you’ve ever picked up a Bible, someone probably directed you to Proverbs at one point or another. It’s right next to Psalm, pretty much right smack in the middle of the Bible. It is quickly apparent when reading Proverbs that it is a book of wisdom, meant to give us plenty of direction on the things we should and should not be pursuing in this life. It is this wisdom that so many of us seek that can be the difference between becoming a part of our toxic work environments or rising above them. Check out Proverbs 2:12-19, 3:13-18, & 9:11-12 and you will see just how valuable wisdom should be to us!
Ok, so what am I getting at, right? Here are the big things I pulled from the message today that I thought were worth sharing.
#1- Hurt people hurt people. We’ve all been hurt, so we all have a tendency to hurt others. Recognize this in others and yourself.
#2- Let people have bad days. ALL of us have them. Accept that people have flaws and that there are days when they will make mistakes.
#3- You can’t control other people. The only person you can control in this world is yourself. So while you can’t avoid toxic people, you CAN avoid or control their affect on you.
#4- You can’t force others to change. It’d be nice if we could, huh? But learning how to work with someone in the midst of frustration will get you a lot farther than insisting that they change. Because they probably won’t. And you’ll still be pissed off.
#5- People are flawed (I am flawed)…so we sin and cause damage. It is inherent to each of us that we are going to make mistakes. And rare is the mistake that doesn’t affect another human being. If we accept that others are flawed, then we stop demanding perfection from everyone we work with.
By no means do I think we should lower our standards or expect less of others. But recognizing that we are ALL flawed, and that we are all toxic to someone at some point, can go a long way in alleviating the frustration so many of us face, not only in the work environment, but also in our relationships with the people we love.