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Wait, I’m Working with Who?!?

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Wait, I’m Working with Who?!?

The Essential Guide to Dealing with Difficult Coworkers, Annoying Managers, and Other Toxic Personalities

Career Press,

15 min read
10 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

Arm yourself with proven and effective strategies for dealing with toxic people in the workplace.

Editorial Rating



  • Applicable
  • Concrete Examples
  • Engaging


If you’ve never encountered a jerk at work, consider yourself lucky. Most workplaces host a smattering of people with toxic personality traits that make life miserable for managers and employees alike. Behaviors such as bullying, gossiping, incivility and slacking pollute the work environment, erode cohesion, lower morale, reduce productivity and even nudge good people to quit. Peter Economy, The Leadership Guy at online magazine Inc., offers advice and time-tested strategies to identify, manage and prevail over toxic types and forge a professional, positive and safe work environment.


Identify and manage jerks at work to negate their harmful effects.

Most workplaces are home to at least one jerk. It might be your boss, a co-worker or even yourself. Toxic people have the power to reduce team morale, impinge on others’ job performance and influence their colleagues’ feelings about work. Of course, on the negative office behavior continuum, some people are merely annoying, while others may be extremely harmful.

A Gallup study found that working for a bad boss is the top reason people quit a job. Managers who don’t set clear expectations, who are either unavailable or too involved, or who fail to provide development opportunities create a stressful environment for their subordinates. When they ignore leadership shortcomings and neglect to make positive change, they lose valuable employees, and the performance of those who remain dwindles.

To neutralize workplace toxicity, first identify the type of behavior that is bringing you down. Then, respond to work jerks with one or more of eight proven strategies.

Negative workplace behaviors impinge on team productivity, welfare and morale...

About the Author

Peter Economy is the author of Managing for Dummies and Wait, I’m the Boss?!? He writes The Leadership Guy column for Inc.’s online edition.

Comment on this summary

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    A. D. 11 months ago
    Very very useful work productivity, and behavioral guidance resource. Thank you very much.
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    M. C. 1 year ago
    Great summary, and the concepts are clear and interesting.