toxic people at work

How To Deal With Toxic People At Work? 7 Proven Tips For Managers

Hey there, managers! Let’s dive into a topic that hits home – workplace toxicity. A recent Fortune poll unveiled that 64% of folks have waded through a toxic work environment, and a significant 44% pointed fingers at leadership. Interesting, right?
Now, what’s this toxicity everyone’s talking about? According to the poll, a toxic workplace leads to a culture where 55% saw it as disrespectful, 34% as downright abusive, 30% as non-inclusive, and 29% as unethical. Quite a cocktail, huh? Here’s a kicker – it seems our female colleagues are more likely to encounter and report these toxic vibes compared to our male and non-binary people.
We all know a healthy work environment is the secret sauce for productivity and growth. Toxic folks can sneak into your team. As a manager, you might do your best during hiring, but spotting those toxic traits isn’t always a cakewalk.
So, in today’s blog, we’re breaking down what workplace toxicity is, how you, as a manager, can spot these vibe-killers early on, and, of course, dishing out some tips to keep that negativity far away from your excellent team. Ready to kick those toxic vibes to the curb? Let’s roll!

How to spot toxic people at work?

Imagine your team is like a well-functioning machine, with everyone contributing their part. But there is a toxic colleague, Alex. He has this habit of always taking credit for others’ work, leaving the real contributors feeling unappreciated.
It’s like having a teammate who waters the plant but lets someone else take credit for the blossoming flowers. This kind of toxicity, if left unchecked, can spread. Others might start feeling demotivated.

As a manager, it’s your role to spot these toxic behaviors. Let’s say you notice Alex’s credit-stealing antics. Instead of brushing it aside, you should address it. Bring the team together, acknowledge everyone’s contributions, and clarify that credit should go where it’s due.

The result? The team regains its positive energy. People feel valued, and the toxic behavior is nipped in the bud. It’s like pulling out the weed before it takes over the garden.

But how can you identify these toxic people around them? Here are some toxic traits, or we can say warning signs, that can help you spot them out: 

  • These toxic people always need to be right
  • They are always offended
  • They are always accusing others of being wrong
  • These toxic people are constantly pushing their opinions on you
  • They are always trying to control the conversation
  • Toxic people always look for ways to get ahead or take advantage of you
  • They have a habit of blowing things out of proportion
  • Being a manipulator is also a sign of a toxic person
signs of toxic people at work by Risely
Read more about the types of toxic people and spotting them here: Spotting 5 Types of Toxic Co-workers to Take Care Of

4 Things Managers should keep in Mind when Dealing with Toxic People

Alright, managers, now that we’ve unmasked the workplace toxicity villains, let’s discuss the game plan for dealing with them.

Stay Professional

You need to put their best foot forward as a manager. And handle things without judgments and biases. You should only look at facts and have a discussion based on that. This approach ensures you can quickly solve the situation without hampering the productivity and positivity of the workplace.

Document every detail

You should keep a detailed record of every situation with examples and proofs. Later, if a more significant problem arises and the manager needs to take action against the toxic people at work, you will have a detailed document outlining every situation and the solution so that employees can’t blame the manager or team members.

Lead by Example

You should model behavior by keeping a positive attitude and should treat every team member with utmost respect. This behavior will help bring a change in the culture. It will increase workplace positivity and reduce the influence of toxic people.

Culture of Open Communication

Managers should practice a culture of open communication in their teams. This helps team members open up about their issues and challenges at work and allows them to fix them by communicating. Open communication also improves team camaraderie and reduces misunderstanding.

By keeping these four points in mind, you can simplify conversations with toxic people. Let’s check out some tips to protect your mental peace from toxic people.

7 Tips to Protect Yourself from Toxic Coworkers

Don’t try to please them

As a manager, it can be a hard time dealing with toxic people, and it can be hard not to get pulled into their drama and compromise your values. However, it’s important to remember that you don’t have to try to please them. Trying to do that can significantly drain your energy and morale. Instead, you should stick to what you feel is correct, and you should only push your boundaries to please others.

Speak up if you feel uncomfortable or unsafe around someone

As a manager, you must protect your team and yourself. If you feel uncomfortable or unsafe around someone, you must speak up. Doing so can help ensure that the group remains safe and healthy and that your concerns are considered. In some cases, speaking up may be the best way to protect yourself from harmful or damaging behavior. Above all, be confident in your decision to speak up, and remember that you are not alone in this process.

Don’t get sucked into the toxicity

As a manager, it is essential to be aware of the signs that someone is behaving in a toxic way and avoid getting pulled into their toxicity. Toxic people have a way of sucking other people into their toxicity. Either by manipulation or by confrontation. Toxic people are often very good at hiding their negative emotions and behaviors, making it harder to see what is happening. Once you become aware of the signs and start to counteract them, you will be on your way to a safe distance from toxicity.

Set boundaries with Toxic People at work

Toxic people tend to spread negativity and stress everywhere they go. They can be tough to deal with, as they tend to push everyone around them away. If you find yourself surrounded by toxic people, it’s essential that you take a step back and set boundaries. Ensure you keep your distance and set clear expectations with these people. Be firm but polite, and don’t let them control your emotions. Doing this can protect you from being emotionally drained and stressed out and maintain your sanity in a difficult situation. These boundaries will also help you maintain healthy relationships.

Keep hold of your emotions

When dealing with toxic people, keeping hold of your emotions is essential. Stay focused and determined, and don’t get swayed by their words or actions. Toxic people usually have a hidden agenda, which aims to achieve their own selfish goals. Please don’t fall for their tricks, and stay strong and confident no matter what. With some self-confidence and wisdom, you can successfully deal with toxic people and protect yourself from their negative energy. It will also be good for your mental health if you have been affected by the toxic behavior around you.

Keep a positive attitude, even when things are tough

When things are tough at work, it’s tempting to give in to the negative vibes and pull all-nighters to make up for a lost time. But if you want to be a successful manager, you need to be able to keep a positive attitude even when things get tough. Toxic people can be pretty draining, and it can be hard to keep your head when all you want to do is crawl into a hole and hide.

But remember: despite the challenges, there are still opportunities to overcome these challenges and thrive. With a positive attitude and a constructive approach, you can manage these toxic people effectively and avoid any damage they may be doing to your career. This positivity will also help you maintain healthy relationships and will help you come out as a good person. Remember to keep balance, as on the other side, toxic positivity can hurt teams too!

Be aware of your own behavior and how it impacts others

A significant part of dealing with toxic or complicated people is avoiding developing their traits. Being too much around toxic people in the workplace can create some chances of developing toxicity in managers. It can ultimately take things to an opposing end and may make managers harmful. To avoid that, you need to be aware of their own behavior and how it impacts others. They should avoid any toxic behaviors as they may create an unhealthy relationship between them and their team members. They should completely stay away from traits like arrogance, anger, cruelty, insult, etc., and should develop qualities like empathy and compassion.


To conclude, if you as a manager consistently encounter toxicity in your workplace, it is high time you spot those toxic people and start dealing with them effectively. You can use the traits mentioned above to spot those toxic people at work. Once done, you can start avoiding them or dealing with them effectively using the tips mentioned above. So, stay away from toxic people and keep managing your team and business effectively as managers.

Overcoming toxicity might be tricky, but assertive communication can help you succeed.

Test your assertive communication skills with the free self-assessment to make sure you are always ready to speak up.


How to identify a toxic person at work?

A toxic person drains your energy at work. Typically, they would be seen as overconfident know-it-alls in the workplace who are always prepared to diminish and pull down others. They are uncooperative and engage in harmful practices like office politics which hurt the team.

How does others’ toxic behavior impact your efficiency?

Toxic behavior, even when not explicitly targeted toward you, creates a harmful environment for the entire team. It creates an unhelpful atmosphere where employees are not motivated to show up and give their best daily. Interpersonal relationships break, and trust is minimal too.

How do you prove you have a toxic boss?

Note the signs of toxicity in your supervisor and collect evidence to demonstrate the same. Typically, the common signs of a toxic manager include micromanagement, lack of trust, setting unreasonable expectations, stealing the limelight and credit for work done by the team, etc.

How to protect yourself from toxic coworkers?

To protect yourself from toxic coworkers, establish boundaries, limit interactions, and stay focused on your work. Seek support from colleagues and supervisors, document inappropriate behavior, and maintain a positive attitude. Consider discussing concerns with HR if necessary, and prioritize your well-being above all.

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