You have toxic colleagues (and clients) you work with. You know who they are; they are the folks who constantly give you reason for professional pause. Perhaps they make you doubt yourself and your judgment during meetings or via email/text. Or you convince yourself that their perspective and strategy is better than yours and are duped once again. Either way, your professional outcome resembles a lyric from an early Taylor Swift breakup song. So stop holding yourself back. Get out of your own way and move one millimeter forward.
It is time to complete your toxic colleagues clean up project (even if you do not know you started one.)
Why? Because time is short, as we have learned over the past two years. Plus, you watch your patience and tolerance of wasteful professional behavior diminish. You have more important things to accomplish to better serve colleagues and clients who acknowledge the value you bring to the table.
Here is your secret superpower: to clean up toxic colleagues, clean yourself up first. Here are three strategies to move forward in your career trajectory versus feeling beaten up and run over each day.
Why be a spectator? Instead, become an innovator.
Instead of tuning these disruptive folks out because their behavior and opinions turn you off, show up at the table with ideas to present. Habits and mindset do not change by repeating past actions over and over again (and expecting different results). Learn to present your ideas in a manner which engages and complements versus challenges and negates. As a result, you shine a light – and set a path – for others to follow.
Search for solutions outside of your department and professional discipline.
The best innovators I know develop networks beyond what and who is familiar and comfortable. Determine who the best thinkers are in other parts of your company, then seek them out. Consider that these best thinkers do their best thinking by seeking out other innovators within the organization, and in other companies. Follow their light, because you will be surprised where it leads you.
Be prepared to be surprised at the impact your toxic colleagues cleanup project makes on culture and outcomes.
The more comfortable you become innovating instead of serving as a spectator for toxic colleagues, you become more professionally confident. Thus, you become everyone’s go-to person for what is new, next, and changing. When you arrive at the table, you fluidly engage others with strategies and plans. Everyone moves forward to get to where they really need to go, together. There is no more room at that table (or other tables) for toxic and disruptive colleagues because you and your other colleagues have work to do!
Stop holding yourself back from moving one millimeter forward in your career and business trajectory. Engage me to catalyze you with my One Millimeter Mindset program: “3 Questions, Four Agreements, and 5 Whys To Catalyze Professional Innovation.” Contact me here.
Take your seat at the table. Catalyzing you to be ahead of what is new, next, and continuously changing. | Professional Innovation | Cross Functional Leadership | Complex Problem Solving | Speaker, Consultant, Mentor |
How do you become more professionally visible, cross-functionally relevant, and strategically valuable throughout your career trajectory? Babette Ten Haken’s One Millimeter Mindset ™ speaking, consulting, and mentoring programs catalyze people who solve problems differently to collaborate more innovatively as they create and implement innovative and robust business outcomes together. Regardless of whether you are a traditional thinker or a more creative one, use her 3 Core Questions, 4 Change Agreements, and 5 Professional Whys so everyone gets to where they really need to go, together. Babette is a business-oriented STEM professional, qualitative Voice of the Customer facilitator, PMI-certified Wicked Problem Solver, Duke Corporate Education licensed Strategic Agility practitioner, and Six Sigma Green Belt (Quality). She is a member of SHRM, PMI, the National Speakers Association (NSA). Delivered virtually or in-person. Her playbook of cross-functional collaboration, Do YOU Mean Business? is available in digital format on Amazon.com. Contact Babette here. Image source: Adobe Stock.