Toxic honesty: when does being ‘truthful’ become aggression?

“I just say it like it is.” “I’m just telling the truth.” “I don’t suffer fools gladly.”

These are all lines I hear regularly in my courses on dealing with difficult people. Invariably the speaker is someone who has been “sent” to the course and is coming across as aggressive and hostile in the workplace. These people claim they are simply being direct and expressing what they think. In reality, though, they are using so-called honesty as a weapon. Their direct, frank approach invades others’ personal boundaries and creates an attacking tone, which colours their feedback.

Read more

Staying positive around negative people

Energy vampires, mood bombers, confidence wreckers; they all have one thing in common. They’re chronically negative and a toxic influence on workplace team dynamics. Sadly, people with negative mind-sets often set the tone for the entire team. They’re the ones who speak up first and loudest. They’re the ones who find problems for every solution. And they’re the ones who always seem to have the last word. In a perfect world, you’d be able to avoid dealing with chronically negative people. In reality, though, you’re likely to be exposed to them on a daily basis. If you work in customer service, for example, your job will involve handling complaints and dealing with angry or upset people. Or it could simply be that you’re sitting next to a cynical and negative colleague. Or perhaps your boss is burnt out and exhausted and it’s obvious to everyone.

Read more

Psychological games. Spot them to stop them

You thought you were going to a simple catch-up meeting with your boss; instead you ended up feeling like a naughty child. Although the meeting started well, halfway through your boss became aggressive and critical. You’re still not even sure what the main problem was. However, you definitely know you’re in the bad books. This scene is typical of what happens during psychological game playing at work.

Read more