STAY POSITIVE WHEN DEALING WITH COMPETITIVE PEOPLE. IDENTIFYING KEY ELEMENTS OF A TOXIC, AND COMPETITIVE PERSON. REMOVING TOXIC PEOPLE, AND STAYING POSITIVE:
1. THEY’RE BOASTFUL
A rival will often exaggerate their capabilities, achievements, and talents. They are more likely to boast, unsurprisingly, when you are earning recognition for your hard-won successes. These exaggerations occur for one reason: their own insecurities.
2. THEY MODULATE YOUR SUCCESS
There are few things worse in this world than a sore loser. People who disregard or downplay the successes of others are as toxic as they are annoying. People who envy you the most are the ones who most desire what you possess. With this in mind, it is in your best interest to just avoid such people.
3. THEY GOSSIP
“John's really not that great a salesman,” “Sally really isn’t that smart,” or similar sentiments (names and job titles interchangeable!) are expressed by those who are engaged in unhealthy competition with someone else. Engaging in gossip is an act of immaturity – and should be dealt with.
4. THEY ALWAYS WANT TO KNOW HOW YOU’RE DOING
No, they really don’t care about your success in this case. While they may approach you with a smile – perhaps even engage in a bit of playful banter – it’s a front to achieve one thing: to find out how they’re measuring up. Watch their expression quickly turn to sour grapes upon hearing anything they perceive as self-defeating (a.k.a., your successes.)
5. THEY CELEBRATE YOUR FAILURES
A person that is jealously competing with you gets pleasure out of your “failures.” The only thing worse than deviously celebrating your setbacks?
When that same someone talks about them behind your back – which they probably will, and then denies having done so – which they probably will.
6. THEY IMITATE YOU
Someone who competes with you on an unhealthy level strongly desires to be “equal to” or “better” than you. As such, you may notice them walking, talking, and even (creepily) dressing similar to you. ‘
There’s one caveat, and it involves role models. We will naturally imitate those who we respect – and there’s nothing wrong with this. The difference? Well, we don’t gossip about or attempt to sabotage a role model.
7. THEY HEAP FALSE PRAISE
There are few things better than a well-timed compliment. There are few things worse than continuous, false praise. When someone is competing with you out of hostility; instead of owning their displeasure, they will instead annoy you with disingenuous compliments. Classy, right?
8. THEY ENGAGE IN SABOTAGE
In a worst-case scenario, a person can become so jealous of your apparent successes that they scheme ways of discrediting your hard work and smearing your good name. Such behavior is inexcusable; and the sooner that you confront the situation for correction, the better.
Remove Toxic People In Your Life (And Be Nice About It)
A toxic person is a drain on your emotional energy. We all have a specific amount of emotional energy that gets us. Always focus on your personal accomplishments, and what it took for you to get where you are.
Although the person that keeps attempting to compete with you may appear to have the upper hand, as long as you don't allow that person to distract or discourage you. Be confident in who you are, and eventually your positive attitude will bring light to what they are doing. As long as you entertain their negativity they will never be exposed for who they are. The best way to win a fight without ever getting into the ring is to continue to be the BEST you and ignoring their intimidation of who you are!
He or she is at your desk constantly. You have to sit through meetings with him or her. He or she hovers in the lunchroom. The stench of his or her criticisms wafts through the workplace, threatening to permeate your own work, if you aren't careful.
In fact, you're pretty sure he or she is working against you behind your back.
Or worse, he or she is outright combative.
You can't escape these people-they're part of your everyday routine. Toxic people may undermine, they may sabotage, but whatever their insidious actions and motives, they definitely have an effect on the people who have to work with them.
But what can you do about it? Plenty. Try some of these tactics:
1. Personal Power Check
No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.-Eleanor Roosevelt
Start by firmly and swiftly booting the person out of your head. We can't control how people act, but we have 100 percent control over how we react to them.
Stop giving toxic people your head space. This is incredibly difficult, but you end up sabotaging your efforts if you're obsessing over what someone else is doing, or what he or she might do next. You overthink your decisions and consider their feedback before it's even been offered (or thrust upon you).
Take the emotion out of your reaction to toxic people. They're going to do what they're going to do, but you don't have to get upset about it. Get right with that reality, and start taking your personal power back.
2. Distance Yourself
If you share workspace, putting physical distance between your toxic influence and yourself may not be possible, but try. Watch for space opening up that you could lay claim to. Find a reason you need to work somewhere else in the building.
If that doesn't work, distance yourself mentally and emotionally. Are you allowed to wear headphones at your desk? Music might help you tune him or her out, but you don't even have to play anything-wearing headphones is a buffer that tells people they'll have to interrupt if they need something. It helps cut off the instant access that might have someone in your ear every five minutes.
If breaks are an issue, start taking your lunch outside. Find a park, go for a walk-just get away from the office and the toxic person for a brief respite when you can.
3. Put Your Foot Down
Know your boundaries, and make sure they're clear to those around you. If the toxic person flies right past the annoying line and becomes abusive or otherwise inappropriate for a professional setting, make a complaint. Taking it sitting down tells the person your boundaries are farther than he or she thought, and there is a lot more he or she can get away with.
Don't allow it to become personal. A complaint about inappropriate behavior in the workplace should not become a laundry list of every nasty thing the person has ever done to you. Keep it succinct and professional; be clear about which workplace rules he or she is breaking and how it affects the workplace as a whole.
Yes, there will be backlash. Be ready for it, and don't take it to heart. You might just find that others start putting their foot down as well.
4. Let Them Act Out
Don't completely block out a toxic person. Yes, you need distance, and you need to put your foot down, but this is also a person you need to cooperate with on some level, given your mutual employment. It's not like a toxic friend-you can't just stop answering the phone.
Let him or her speak, share his or her ideas (even if they suck), give his or her input (even if it's off base and mean), and don't interrupt.
Give these people the opportunity to have their say. If that means others in the workplace see how toxic the person is, bonus. It can also help defuse situations that could become explosive; no one likes to be shut out entirely.
You don't want to be accused of being the one who won't listen or is difficult. Give him or her the respect he or she deserves in his or her professional position so you're poised to ask for the same.
5. Counterstrike: Mission Positivity
The absolute best way to counter negative, toxic, soul-sucking people is to surround yourself with people who lift you up and give you energy instead.
Make a conscious decision to spend more time with the fun, happy, constructive people in your workplace. Uplifting people are a great counterbalance to toxicity.
Look inside, too. Check your self-speak-those million little things we tell ourselves on a regular basis. Take note when you're thinking and telling yourself negative things, which just might echo the things a toxic person has told you before. Reframe these things into positives.
Moving Past Toxic People in the Workplace
Life isn't always fair; it's sad but true. You might have to work alongside toxic people throughout your entire career. You can't change them, so it's up to you to decide how you're going to deal with them and move past it.
Even when you can't physically move on to a new position or a new company, you can mentally move past toxic people. Leave them behind. If they're not helping you, they don't deserve your attention and certainly aren't something to stay awake over at night.