In a previous article, I have talked about how toxic co-workers twist social skills to lie, manipulate, and abuse others to advance their careers. So in this article, let’s talk about how you can improve your career without becoming another toxic co-worker to your colleagues.
I think we can all agree that nobody likes toxic co-workers. They make getting up for work difficult, no matter how much you love your job, as they’re unbearable to work with.
So if you want to increase your chances of advancing on the career ladder while avoiding becoming a toxic colleague, then this article’s for you. Sure, copying what your toxic co-workers do may yield some short-term benefits. But cultivating healthy relationships with your co-workers and boss produces better opportunities and rewards for you in the long run.
Don’t Lie on Your Resume and Interview.
First up, even before you get the job, be sure to be completely honest in your resume and interview about what you can and can’t do. If you don’t have as much experience, then state it while highlighting your desire to learn whatever is needed for the job.
Sure, lying about your skills and accomplishments may get you the job, but it won’t help you keep it. What will you do if your boss gives you a critical task you don’t know how to accomplish, for example?
Being honest about your actual skills and accomplishments helps you avoid this problem and shows your employers that you are not hiding anything from them. This improves their first impression of you and maybe even help you land the job as well.
Deeds, Not Words.
After getting hired, it’s time for you to show your boss that they made the right choice. And the best way to do so is by performing your given tasks well. These range from submitting your finished work ahead of time, producing quality work, or being present when required by your boss.
Since most work are now done at home, some have the mistaken belief that it’s now easier to fool their bosses regarding their work efficiency. Sorry to break it to you, but your boss has the means to track your work progress. Monitoring software, such as Remote Staff’s RSSC, are used by employers to observe what their employees are doing during work hours.
Be Consistent With Your Work Habits.
In addition to showing your boss that you’re capable of doing your job well, you also need to show you can do your work consistently. One common failing of many workers is that their enthusiasm and efficiency fall off as time goes on. We even have a term for this in Filipino: “Ningas Kugon.”
If you want to climb the career ladder, this negative trait should be one of the things that you should avoid. Being consistent in your work shows that you are someone your co-workers can rely on to get things done. And it also shows that you can be trusted with greater responsibilities by your bosses.
One way to remain consistent with your work is to do well, but not perfect. What do I mean by this? When starting out on your work, pace yourself and don’t bite off more than you can chew. Don’t take all the tasks at once to show you’re hardworking. That’s the quickest way to burning yourself out early.
Interact With Your Co-workers.
As the saying goes: “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” Focusing on your work is admirable, but don’t let that ruin your opportunities to interact with your co-workers. Socializing with your co-workers allows you to know them better and form connections with them.
Of course, this is also a favored tactic by toxic co-workers to either find something to gossip about their colleagues or get on everyone’s good sides. The difference between you and them should be intent and sincerity. You form friendships with your co-workers because you want to have friends at work. Not because you need connections to advance your career.
Remain Professional and Objective With Your Boss and Co-workers.
Aside from insecure bosses, nobody likes a sycophant. I think that’s another thing we can all agree on as well. They don’t contribute anything meaningful during meetings and exist only to boost your boss’ ego. In addition, they also tend to belittle the suggestions of others that aren’t their bosses, even if these suggestions are genuinely helpful.
So how do you avoid becoming like one? During team meetings with your boss, provide objective and beneficial suggestions and feedback to them. Don’t appear like you’re being arrogant with your boss and co-workers. Word it in a way that won’t hurt their feelings, and instead take it as constructive criticism.
Avoid Office Politics, or at Least, Be Neutral on Them.
Ah, office politics. Depending on the kind of co-workers and boss you have, it could be so subtle that you won’t notice it unless you’re in the company for a long time. Or, it could be so overt that you’d have to be willfully ignoring it to not notice it.
Because it is one of the primary sources of conflict and drama within the workplace, it is often a wise decision to stay out of office politics. Not only will it save you from a lot of stress and negative emotions, but it will also help you keep your reputation intact.
Unfortunately, that can’t be the case all the time. Sometimes, you’ll need to be involved in office politics no matter how much you want to avoid it. When this happens, try to not pick a side until you see the whole picture. This helps you know which side to support and why the conflict started in the first place.
Never Let Personal Feelings Towards Some Co-workers Affect Your Work.
Another common issue that many workers struggle with at work is letting their feelings regarding their co-workers affect their work. This could be because they’re envious of their co-workers’ successes, or they just don’t like them as a person. Or perhaps, it’s the other way around. Maybe you like them so much that they’re taking advantage of you.
Whatever the case may be, letting these emotions control your work can be detrimental to your productivity and judgment. These can lead you to form biases on how you treat this co-worker. This bias could lead to friction amongst your co-workers, particularly if you’re on the same team as them.
The simplest way to avoid this issue is to once again remain professional when interacting with your co-workers. Treat them how you would treat your other co-workers so that you can all achieve your tasks without any trouble.
Be a Leader, Not a Boss.
And last but not least, once you achieve a position of authority among your co-workers, never let this authority get in on your head. Despite what you may think, you wouldn’t receive your promotion without the help of your co-workers.
With that in mind, you may then ask: “What’s the difference between a leader and a boss, anyway?” A leader leads by example, gives clear instructions to their subordinates, and shares the credit to the entire team. In contrast, a boss is someone who orders their subordinates around, gives vague instructions, and hogs all the credit.
And there you have it! Here are the steps to follow if you want to advance your career without becoming toxic. Aiming for success in your career is never easy. There are many obstacles to overcome, and it takes a long time before you get noticed. Because of this, many unscrupulous employees resort to underhanded tricks to get ahead of others.
But as this article shows, you don’t have to follow these kinds of employees to climb the corporate ladder. Following these steps will not only allow you to better advance your career, but make friends along the way. I hope that this article helps you ground yourself while still chasing your goals.