5 Toxic Coworkers (and how to deal with them)

 In VA Work Tips and Best Practices

Welcome to the realm of the virtual assistant industry. Although being a VA doesn’t entail actual social interaction that happens in an office setup, it can still be an exciting career. Just like any job, you meet different people from all walks of life in the VA industry. Unfortunately, if you feel that you dodged the bullet of office politics, think again. Home-based jobs are still jobs that will make you deal with toxic coworkers, so you must brush up your social skills.

Ironically, online socializing has its unique dynamics. You must be wary of your tone and word selection when talking with a coworker. In addition, you must be prepared for the things that you may encounter. It’s good to start with a bit of awareness so you can manage even the most difficult of personalities.

Here are 5 types of toxic coworkers and how to deal with them:

  • The Lazy One

     You’ve probably had an experience with one team member who has no initiative. This trait tops the list as the most toxic of personalities. The best way to manage this person is by doing positive reinforcement. Instead of nagging this person to do their job, remind them about the perks of getting the job done. Remind them about the skills that they are good at so they can get inspired. If this still doesn’t work, then report them to the manager.

  • The Control Freak 

    There will be strong personalities who will try to control each and every step of the project. Instead of being confrontational, let this person know how much you appreciate their input and that you have something valuable to contribute as well. Open the lines of diplomatic communication; it will work like a charm.

  • The Gossipmonger  

    This is the coworker who is addicted to drama and thrives on the latest gossip about other people. The best way to deal with this type of people is simple: ignore the gossip and keep your line of communication strictly professional. You don’t need this kind of negative energy. It will drain you and may derail your productivity.

  • The Black Hole of Negativity  

    Just like the gossipmonger, there are those who are negative about anything and everything under the sun. They might not be open to new ideas or might shut down suggestions given to them by others. Remind them gently that some ideas might pleasantly surprise them and that some ideas, though unconventional, might actually work. By all means, avoid socializing with this person if it isn’t about work. Surround yourself with lighthearted and optimistic people that will lift you up and inspire you to work harder.

  • The Know It All  

    Some of the most annoying people are the ones who think they know it all. This could pose a challenge because you might be constantly exposed to a monologue of unsolicited advice and suggestions from them. Truth is, it’s good to keep an open mind. Trust your better judgment though. If you feel that it will not improve your work or output then simply ignore their input.

There will be more challenging personalities that you will eventually meet in your online work. You must practice empathy and simply put yourself in their shoes. Everyone’s different and unique due to varied backgrounds and upbringing. Stay kind and understanding. If you can’t find the best coworker then aspire to be one yourself. Most of the time, being the role model could inspire others to work with you instead of against you. Lastly, stay professional at all times. The best of the best know this, and this is the very reason why they last in this industry.


Next: 7 Common Communication Mistakes And How To Avoid Them


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