Tips For Working In A Hostile Environment

Tips for Working in a Hostile Environment


I once had a boss who was completely unprofessional, who publicly humiliated me in front of my peers and colleagues, and who made my life miserable. He would criticize me for taking vacations and would make all kinds of inappropriate remarks about my appearance. But I learned how to cope with him by developing some simple strategies that helped me through some difficult times at work.

Try grey rocking your nemesis.

A situation that is difficult at work can almost always be improved by grey rocking. Grey rocking is not about ignoring people, but it is about avoiding conflict. When you are in a room with someone who makes your blood boil and your heart race, you have a choice: you can either engage with them or avoid them. Grey rocking means staying calm and focused on what's important to you without responding to your behavior.

It may seem counterintuitive to try and sidestep conflict when it seems like the best way to deal with your nemesis would be to stand up for yourself, but this approach has many benefits, including maintaining composure, keeping cool under pressure and remaining focused on what needs doing rather than reacting emotionally or getting distracted by petty issues.

Don't try to “win” at work.

It's important to avoid trying to “win” at work. Don't try to be right, prove people wrong, or be the smartest person in the room. In fact, it's best not to even try to be productive. Let your coworkers do all of these things; you can just sit back and enjoy yourself while they're working hard for you!

Own your emotions.

  • Be honest about how you feel.
  • Don't let others dictate how you feel.
  • Don't let others make you feel guilty, bad about yourself or ashamed, or like a failure. They're not the ones with emotions that are running high and are having trouble controlling themselves; you are! You can be honest about your feelings without wallowing in them too long, so don't let yourself get lost in self-pity—especially if it's undeserved (and if it is deserved, then maybe that's something else entirely).

Set boundaries.

You may have been taught to be nice and polite, but no one owes you anything. You can be nice without being a pushover or doormat, so when someone tries to walk all over you, it's time for some tough love. And don't have to take their abuse anymore!

Set boundaries by saying things like, “I want us both to be on good terms with each other, so I will help you out as much as I can, but I don't want us both working late every night this week because that puts pressure on our schedules. How about next week we work from 9-5 on Monday through Thursday, and then we go home? That should give us plenty of time off together while still giving me enough time during the day if I need it.”

Do enough to save face at work, but limit how much you expose yourself to toxicity from others.

Do Enough To Save Face At Work, But Limit How Much You Expose Yourself To Toxicity From Others.

It's important to remember that there is a limit to how much you should expose yourself to toxicity from others.

If your workplace is toxic, it's not worth it for you to stay there and put yourself through their abuse.

You can do enough work and make enough progress at work, but limit how much you expose yourself to toxicity from others by setting boundaries, ignoring those who are toxic, and not letting yourself be abused.

Be the bigger person and learn to forgive (and forget).

When you're working in a hostile environment, it's important to remember that forgiveness is a choice. We all have the power to forgive and forget, and we should use this ability because it will help us move forward. Forgiveness does not mean that you have to forget what happened; instead, it allows you to let go of your pain and anger so that you can focus on other things in life.

It's also important not to take things personally when working in a hostile environment—it's not about you! Sometimes people behave poorly because they've been hurt or treated poorly themselves at some point in their lives (and sometimes due simply because they're just plain rude). In these instances, remember that if someone hurts your feelings or criticizes something about yourself, then it doesn't necessarily mean anything about YOU—it may just be THEIR reaction based on their own experiences with life thus far.

If a colleague is constantly throwing you under the bus, talk about it with your manager—not with them!

This is important because if you confront them directly, they may come back at you and say something like: “Oh yeah? Well, my manager told me to do this.” Or they may go back to their manager and tell him or her that you were being unprofessional. It's better not to draw attention to yourself when working in a hostile environment because it can be hard for your managers—who are often good people who just want things done right—to see everything that is going on around them. Instead of approaching them directly, approach your manager about what happened and what could be done differently in the future so that everyone wins! This way, everyone has an open line of communication without any drama involved (which means less stress when working).

If you're not sure what to do, talk to your coach.

If you're not sure what to do, talk to your coach. Also, if you have a good relationship with your boss, then this is an obvious first step. Talk about the situation and see if they have any advice or suggestions for how to handle it.

If you don't feel comfortable talking directly with the person who's bothering you, then consider speaking with HR or another manager on your team who has good relations with them (and vice versa). You might also consider talking to someone outside of work, like a friend or family member. In many cases, having someone outside of the office help mediate conversations between two parties can be extremely beneficial—especially if one party doesn't want anything resolved quickly! However, if all else fails and things continue as usual, it may be time for professional counseling services outside of work hours so that everything stays healthy within yourself as well

Learn how to cope with difficult people and situations at work.

It's important that you do not try to “win” at work. Instead, practice grey rocking: acknowledge your own emotions while keeping a level head and staying focused on your goals. When someone says something hurtful or hostile, remember that it's their problem—not yours—and don't take it personally! Remember that no matter what happens, you can choose to react in a way that will leave you feeling less stressed out afterward, which is ultimately better for everyone involved (except the toxic person). This might mean setting some boundaries around interactions with problematic coworkers or clients; while doing this may feel frustrating at first, it'll help keep things from getting out of hand later on down the line by giving yourself enough distance from toxic situations when needed most quickly and easily possible without them getting worse than before!

  • Don't try too hard to fix others' problems if possible; focus instead on your own successes instead! If things aren't going well between two individuals at work, then maybe one day those two individuals will become friends instead :) You don't always need others' approval either – sometimes just taking care of yourself will be enough.”


We all know how important it is to work well with others. But when you're dealing with a toxic coworker, there's a difference between working well with them and tolerating their bad behavior. If someone is making your life at work miserable, then it's time to take action—but that doesn't mean quitting or getting fired! There are plenty of ways to deal with difficult people and situations in the workplace.

Thank you for reading!

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