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7 signs of a toxic work relationship

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Difficult relationships at work are more than just an annoyance – they can severely affect how much you can achieve in your career.

According to relationship expert Van Moody, author of The People Factor, your success at work depends on your ability to set boundaries which encourage mutual respect and focus on productivity.

Healthy relationships can propel your career to great heights, while toxic ones can weigh you down and negatively affect various aspects of your job.

So, how you can you tell whether you’re already in a toxic relationship? Take a look at how you relate to your boss and colleague and see if they:

1. Stifle your talent and limit your opportunities for advancement

2. Twist circumstances and conversations to their benefit

3. Chide or punish you for a mistake rather than help you correct it

4. Remind you constantly or publicly of a disappointing experience or unmet expectation

5. Take credit or withhold recognition for new ideas and extra effort

6. Focus solely on meeting their goals and do so at your expense

7. Fail to respect your need for personal space and time

According to Moody, one of the best ways to fix a toxic problem is to set boundaries, which help remind yourself and others what is acceptable and reasonable to expect from each other in a professional relationship.

But be warned – toxic people don’t like boundaries, because they often want to shift responsibilities according to their mood or the project.

Here are 4 ways you can set boundaries:

1. Manage your time: Set a limit on the amount of time you spend beyond the hours needed to complete projects. Rigidity douses the flames of collegiality but blurred lines lead to confusion and frustration.

2. Express yourself: Reveal aspects of your personality that will reinforce your values. Sometimes it’s a matter of letting people in a little bit to help keep your boundaries intact.

3. Play your part: Everyone plays a role at work: the victim, the brown-noser, the star, the slacker and the go-to guy. Build your reputation, and do it carefully and consistently. It’s important that your coworkers know what you stand for and what to expect from you. Then, don’t waiver.

4. Change the conversation: Working close quarters or long hours sometimes blur the lines. Here are suggested words to say to help you stay focused on the project and away from nonproductive behaviour: “Let’s focus on finishing the quarterly projections instead of the latest gossip about the CEO so we can get home early.”

Van Moody is the author of ‘The People Factor’ and a motivational speaker who advises on matters related to relationships as they pertain to friends, family, significant others and the workplace. Read more

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