Ever have someone in your life who has a toxic personality? Toxic people can be found at work, at home, in non-profits, and even in churches.
What is a Toxic Personality?
- Sometimes a toxic personality is on a power trip and anyone who gets in their way will be axed, incapacitated, publicly rebuked, or otherwise pushed out of their way.
- Others only become a toxic personality if someone questions their authority or tries to offer a different solution or even just reminds them of the rules.
- Others are in the attack mode only if you are different. If you are of a different political, religious, ethic, or other different category than they are, they will become a toxic personality and make your life miserable. Everyone else will be left alone.
- Sometimes a toxic personality will work to put themselves in tight cohesiveness with the leader and if that doesn’t work, they will attack the leader in hopes that he or she will be the next to leave the organization.
The toxic personality is particularly powerful if you have a sensitive personality. If you take to heart any criticism or really want people to “like” you, you will feel the impact of the toxic personality much more keenly than someone who just lets things roll off of them.
But this type of person is dangerous to others too. Some take it to an extreme and will carry out sabotage missions that if they are mentioned sound so irrational that you think they are kidding. Perhaps they will threaten to hack someone’s accounts or some other kind of cyber sabotage. You think this is the stuff of movies until you hear reports that someone spent days rebuilding their databases because they were hacked.
What should you do if you have a toxic personality in your organization?
- Logic says that you should talk to the person and try to see if you can work out your differences. You may hit a brick wall here though because he or she may have no desire to change. They like their power trip or attack game. Talking to them should be the first step if you think you can resolve the issues but if that fails, here are your other options:
- You can bring someone else on board and have a discussion with you, the third party, and the toxic personality.
- You can try to ignore the individual and avoid contact so that you aren’t affected.
- Depending on the level of authority that the toxic personality holds, you may suggest to management that changes should be made. However, be very careful with this action because it can backfire very quickly. Obviously, if this person is the manager, this would be a very bad move but if you don’t understand the organizational structure, you may complain to someone who feeds your information right back to the toxic personality and your life may get much worse.
- If all else fails, you can leave the organization. If it starts to affect your sleep, your health, and your happiness for more than a day or two and you find yourself constantly obsessing about the person, it is time for you to find a new organization and move on.
Do you have other suggestions for dealing with a toxic personality in your organization?