Collector - July/Aug 2021 - 56

PERSPECTIVES
Creative Solutions
Clearing the Air
How to handle a toxic employee.
By Ronna Denny
I am making an assumption here, but
I would bet we have all dealt with a peer
whose problematic behavior creates a toxic
work environment. Th e worst part of this
situation, in my opinion, is that if it is a
toxic environment for you, it is a toxic
environment for others. Let's explore some
methods of coping with this from a peer
standpoint.
Toxic peers can make work less enjoyable.
Toxic behavior may include people who are
rigid, aggressive and self-centered. A toxic
manager can be narcissistic and preoccupied
with their importance; they devalue others,
lack empathy and are arrogant. Th ey often
feel exempt from the standard rules and will
exploit people with zero remorse.
If you fi nd yourself experiencing such behavior,
I encourage you to address the issues
directly with your co-workers as much as
possible. If you feel uncomfortable, ask for
a manager or member of human resources
to join the conversation. Th e person mediating
the conversation should ensure both
employees can state their perspectives and
encourage a civil exchange. If you meet but
do not come to a resolution, it may be time
for the next step.
Should the behavior continue, you may
need to decide whether to stay or leave.
When you make this decision, evaluate how
severely the situation impacts your emotional
and mental health. Deciding to stay
will require you to develop coping methods
to limit the eff ects of your co-worker's
behavior on your mental well-being. Th ese
methods may include keeping your head
down to avoid becoming a target. However,
make sure you are still completing your
necessary job duties and performing them
very well.
Communication with a toxic individual
should be polite, honest and straightforward.
Th is approach enables you to create
and maintain a safe emotional distance.
It may be frustrating at fi rst, but keeping
things strictly professional leaves the toxic
56
acainternational.org
Ronna Denny is the senior vice
president of client services for
CollectionCenter Inc.
employee with little room to get under
your skin.
Don't gossip about a toxic employee-
it only places you on the same level and
negates your position. Keep your side of
the street clean, and the other employee's
unacceptable behavior will naturally
come to light. It may take some restraint
to not vent to your other co-workers,
but remember your long-term goals with
your company.
However, if you have decided to stay, not
speaking up in certain situations may come
at a cost. Once you have identifi ed the
situation as toxic, you have a responsibility
to share your reasons with your employer.
I cannot stress enough that you will also
need to be open to examining your own
behavior. When discussing the issue with
your employer, it is important to be rational
and honest.
You will need to show your employer how
you have attempted to resolve the issue. You
will also need a detailed and accurate account
of the situation. Vague references, anecdotes
and gossip are not helpful.
Once you have shared your concerns,
allow your employer to handle the situation
from there while ensuring you do not feed
into the negative behavior.
CREATIVE
SOLUTIONS
http://www.acainternational.org

Collector - July/Aug 2021

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