By Maura Schreier-Fleming | In HR & Career, Your Career |
Step 1. Don’t take the bait
A recent client was spending too much time in an email battle with a peer. How unproductive is that! Waging email arguments is about as useful as wrestling with a pig. You get dirty, and besides, the pig likes it.
The battle started when this new employee immediately went into attack mode to disparage my client’s strategy. How unprofessional is that to attack instead of to seek to understand? Some people like to create problems. (Remember the pig?)
This person screams toxic to me. As I reminded my client, when you spot a toxic person, you must remember that you don’t take the bait.
Next, you very quickly run for the hills.
By that I mean, you keep clear of engaging this toxic person. Sometimes with work peers, it’s impossible to ignore them. Be sure to surround yourself with other witnesses when you have to engage this toxic person. Be clear that you have a need to protect yourself.
Step 2. Keep a forward focus
You will get mired in your stress if you think about the misery you are presently experiencing. Instead, focus on the point when you will be free of the deadline, the dispute or whatever is causing you stress. You can even count the days down as you focus on reaching a calmer period.
This also applies to working for a difficult boss. Either you set a date to find another job or develop a strategy like Step 3.
Step 3. Learn to say no
Be able to say no when you have deadlines and are otherwise immersed in a stressful work environment. What do you do when you have a tight deadline and a coworker asks for your attention? You say, “I would really like to help, but today I have a very tough deadline that I’m obligated to keep.”
To a manager it’s, “Here’s what I have committed to. Which do you want me to remove?” You actually get to reduce your stress when you are able to gracefully decline. Another ready response is, “I need to check my calendar and get back to you.” Either way, you must be able to say no in a way that allows you to continue to work with your peers and manager and focus on what you need—less stress.
Malcolm Forbes once said, “If you have a job without aggravation, then you don’t have a job.” All jobs have stress. Your job also includes managing your stress.