Workplace

5 Signs That You Might Be the Abusive One in the Workplace

By: Charlotte Couch
Aug 11, 2020 • 10 min read

5 Signs That You Might Be the Abusive One in the Workplace

Workplace abuse, such as discrimination and bullying, can negatively affect the mental health of your co-workers. While work can sometimes become stressful and high-pressured, disrespecting someone else’s rights is never okay. Sometimes, you might actually be the abusive one in the workplace without even realizing it. Admitting that you have acted inappropriately or rudely toward other people is never easy. But sometimes you need to set aside your pride and take a thorough look into your own actions and attitudes at work. Not only will re-evaluating your abusive workplace behavior improve your relationships with teammates, but it will also make everyone much happier and productive in the long run.

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1. You Gossip a Lot

Gossip can range anywhere from speculating where a co-worker spent their summer vacation to whether the rumors of a boss dating his assistant are true. If you are engaging in or spreading this gossip, you are contributing to a toxic office workplace. Gossiping is especially detrimental if you hold a high position in the workplace over the employees you are talking about. While gossiping may seem harmless or even fun at the moment, it is essential to consider the feelings of the person you are talking about and how it can affect their reputation. If you are caught gossiping, this can severely tarnish your reputation at work. People will have trouble trusting you and view you as abusive. You might even get in trouble with HR if the employee you were gossiping about makes a complaint. This can harm both your career and personal life.

How to Prevent Gossip in the Workplace

Instead of fueling the fire and spreading gossip, you can nip it in the bud and stop it. Simply change the subject when someone tries to talk about another co-worker behind their back. If the person attempts to switch the subject back, you can firmly change it again or walk away. You can also defend the person or call it out if you know the rumor someone is trying to spread is false.

2. You Have Tried to Gaslight Another Employee

Gaslighting occurs when someone makes another person questions their own thoughts and perceptions. Some employees will counter or second guess everything a fellow teammate says. Or they try to invalidate another person’s thoughts or ideas. You could be on the receiving end of this. However, it is also possible that you are the one gaslighting another employee, which can be very abusive.

Signs of Gaslighting in the Workplace

Gaslighting can occur in several forms. Some signs and examples of gaslighting include:

  • Persistent gossip about someone’s work performance
  • Backhanded comments toward another employee either individually or in group settings
  • Excluding others from partaking in networking and leadership activities
  • Refusing to validate someone else’s feelings

Many people who gaslight others are secretly struggling with their own insecurities. Learning how to address and fix these insecurities will not only help improve your self-esteem, but also how you interact with your fellow co-workers.

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3. You Feel Resentful About Other People’s Success

It can be challenging to not feel a little jealous when a co-worker is promoted, or they receive praise from your boss. But instead of letting this jealousy turn into resentment, it is essential to think about your own successes and how far you have come. Using this envy can also help you realize your personal goals and learn how you can achieve them yourself.

Tips for Preventing Jealousy from Getting the Best of You

Handling your jealousy starts by forcing yourself to think back to its source. Maybe you feel jealous about another co-worker’s promotion because you are insecure about your own skills and abilities for your job. Talking to a trusted friend can help you sort out your feelings and figure out where they are coming from. Learning how to become grateful for what you have, writing down your emotions, and taking a break can help you manage your jealousy. As you begin to recognize these negative feelings, you can work toward challenging them and warding them off.

4. You Try to Micromanage Others

Do you let your employees make their own decisions? Are you invested in their future? How good are you at delegating tasks? Do you make your employees CC you on all emails? If so, chances are that you are a micromanaging boss. People sometimes micromanage out of fear that their employees will make a horrible mistake that will affect their reputation. Others may feel more comfortable doing their past job themselves rather than letting old employees take over the reins.

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How to Quit Micromanaging Your Co-Workers

If you are surrounded by employees who are competent and strong at their jobs, you will be less inclined to micromanage them. As you search for and hire new people, you should make sure you are picking ones who meet your qualifications and expectations. Once you hire them, you should be clear on your expectations and how you communicate with them. Setting them up for success by properly training them and giving clear guidelines on tasks will help them perform their jobs well. In turn, this will make it easier for you to trust them with various job duties.

5. You Take Your Anger Out on Your Employees

Work can be stressful. Maybe you have a deadline coming up. Or you have an unhappy client on your hands. If an unlucky team member happens to get in your way during one of these days, you might be tempted to take your anger and frustration out on them. Letting your emotions get the best of you can damage your relationships and even make you seen abusive. Instead, you need to learn how to manage your anger. Repeating a mantra and taking several deep breaths can help you control your emotions. Loosen your muscles to relieve the tension in your body. Count to ten as you feel your body relax. Cooling down during stressful situations can help you manage your relationships with your co-workers and improve your mental health over time.

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