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7 tips for handling toxic people at work

Four personalities - narcissistic, dependent, histrionic, and obsessive-compulsive - can create a negative work environment that affects team performance.

This article was translated from our Spanish edition. Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

The differences that exist between people are opportunities to consolidate high-performance teams. However, such differences can also lead to conflicts that make collaboration and therefore results difficult.


The corporate training platform UBITS   From his bit "Management of difficult people", he reveals the different types and traits of those colleagues who may have complicated personalities, as well as the principles and keys to be able to effectively manage relationships from assertiveness and empathy inside and outside of work , in order to achieve benefits and well-being for all.

Difficult people are those who, because of their way of being and interacting, create difficulties in their personal relationships.

There are at least 4 types of difficult people . First of all, narcissists are people who focus on themselves, their interests and priorities. At the neuronal level, they may have a deficiency in mirror cells, which are what facilitate empathy. They have infantile conditions that accentuate their egocentricity, such as the absence of the need to share and negotiate with their peers.

Second, the dependents center their speech around "you" and "you" , since they avoid talking or considering themselves. One of their characteristics is that they need to maintain constant links with others to whom they submit their will.

Third, the histrionics need to be the center of attention, since during their childhood they lacked it or, on the contrary, received it in excess. This makes them unproductive, uncooperative and very competitive people in their jobs, even generating unnecessary internal competitiveness in organizations.

Only four personalities can create a negative work environment that affects team performance / Image: Depositphotos.com

Lastly, obsessive-compulsives need to be in control, probably because the family environment in which they grew up was unsafe or unstable. Although their “perfectionism” is often viewed as positive and desirable in the work environment, in reality, they tend to be demanding to the extreme impractical and unproductive, which does not facilitate collaborative work.

Tips for handling toxic people at work

UBITS provides some principles that can help when dealing with difficult people:

  • Self-knowledge: although we see ourselves in the mirror every day, there are still many things about ourselves that we do not know, and we ignore them because they are not evident; however, it is most likely that they will be for others.
  • Self-respect: to manage difficult people it is necessary to take care of our safety circle and not fall into provocations. Keep in mind that you should not respond to all attacks. Ask yourself and ask: is it really necessary to argue about this, and if so, is there another way to approach it?
  • Remain calm: at least two people participate in a conflict: the one who seeks it and the one who accommodates it. If you stay calm, you create an atmosphere of conciliation.
  • Focus on the goal: keep your focus on the solution to the difficulty, not the person. If there is no objective or problem, then it is a pointless and vain discussion; clarify the situation and continue in your work. Don't judge the person or take the problem personally.
  • Avoid manipulation games: there are various games in personal relationships in which we fall without realizing it. To avoid them you have to know and identify them when they occur.
  • Assertiveness: be assertive, do not accept what you do not want to accept and do not reject what you do not want to reject. Accept the person, but not the unwanted solution.
  • Approach: manage, don't attack; do it in the appropriate time and space, without forcing it. Approach the person without judgment and seek their talents, skills and abilities with attention, openness and interest in their contributions.