Wait, I’m Working With Who?!? | Peter Economy

Summary of: Wait, I’m Working With Who?!?: The Essential Guide to Dealing with Difficult Coworkers, Annoying Managers, and Other Toxic Personalities
By: Peter Economy


In today’s competitive workplaces, encountering difficult coworkers or annoying managers is unfortunately all too common. In the book “Wait, I’m Working With Who?!?: The Essential Guide to Dealing with Difficult Coworkers, Annoying Managers, and Other Toxic Personalities”, author Peter Economy discusses different types of difficult people you might encounter at work and shares eight strategies to neutralize their toxicity. These toxic personalities, if not addressed properly, could lead to reduced morale, decreased productivity, and high employee turnover. This summary will shed light on recognizing various jerk personalities and provide guidance on handling conflicts and navigating toxic behavior in an efficient manner.

Spotting and Tackling Workplace Jerks

Toxic individuals in the workplace can be detrimental to team morale, job performance, and mental health. Studies show that the top reason people quit their jobs is due to working under a bad boss. This book summary highlights the importance of identifying negative behavior and utilizing eight proven strategies to neutralize them. By doing so, individuals can thrive in a healthy working environment.

Beware of the Jerks

The workplace consists of various personalities, some of which include jerks who make work unbearable. Jerks drain team members’ morale, saps energy, and fosters guilt among co-workers. This summary highlights sixteen of the most common jerks and their negative effects.

The workplace is a melting pot of various personalities. These personalities range from warm, welcoming people to toxic individuals who make work unbearable. The latter is known as jerks, and they come in different forms. Everyone, including yourself, may have a terrible day or indulge in poor work behavior, but some people consistently exhibit one or more characteristics that place them solidly in the jerk zone. It’s crucial to recognize these behaviors and personalities to avoid being a victim of workplace toxicity.

The book highlights sixteen of the most common jerks that individuals might encounter at work. The first set of jerks is Pessimists and Complainers, whose relentless negative attitude saps team members’ energy and morale. These individuals find the worst in everything and everybody, and they make sure everyone knows it.

The Envier and the Credit Thief are individuals who feel threatened by someone else’s success due to their insecurities, causing guilt and tension among co-workers. While the Credit Thief takes the kudos for the achievements of others, the Envier blames everyone but themselves when they do not get the same.

Another jerk is The Intimidator, who uses fear-inducing tactics to reach their objectives, creating tension and prompting co-workers to leave their job if managers fail to address the behavior. Gossipers and Chatters, on the other hand, love to talk. Their constant conversation disrupts your productivity and creates drama, causing problems and misery to their targets.

Lazy Ones, Non-Responder, and Absent Ones refuse to work efficiently, causing resentment, stress, and frustration among their committed co-workers, who end up carrying the burden. Micromanagers and Nitpickers struggle with delegating tasks and often lack trust in their employees, making them feel like they’ll never measure up. Nitpickers’ perfectionist tendencies require their co-workers to rework details and put in unnecessary extra hours.

Competitors and Backstabbers encourage co-workers to compete, even if it is not their natural inclination. Competitors believe work is a zero-sum game, turning colleagues against one another. In contrast, Backstabbers use any means necessary, including divulging secrets, lying or making false accusations, to get ahead.

Lastly, Narcissists and Malicious Ones create a toxic workplace by intentionally undermining co-workers’ confidence or hurting their feelings. Narcissists crave attention and admiration from others but are poor leaders and collaborators due to their inability to empathize or listen to other people’s opinions.

To sum it up, the workplace is filled with different personalities. It’s essential to recognize jerks and their behaviors as they drain team members’ morale, saps energy, and fosters guilt among co-workers. Avoid being a victim of workplace toxicity by identifying these negative behaviors and personalities early on and taking the necessary actions to preserve your sanity.

Dealing with Toxic Remarks

In this book summary, we learn about the danger of reacting impulsively to hurtful remarks and how to gain control over our emotions during difficult times. Using a real-life example of a co-worker’s venomous tongue, the author suggests putting distance between ourselves and our emotions to analyze the instigator’s motives and our reaction. By assessing the situation from an onlooker’s perspective, we can gain a better understanding of the situation. The co-worker in the scenario learned to process his emotions by identifying his triggers and discovered that the toxic remarks came from a place of envy and malice. The book emphasizes the importance of controlling our emotions instead of letting them control us, especially during tense moments when we feel threatened.

Disengaging from Toxic Games

Don’t let anyone manipulate your emotions negatively. Disengaging from their toxic games can tilt the power balance in your favor. Beware the Intimidator – someone who refuses to work and tries to bully you into doing their will. Refusing to play their game cuts off the oxygen that feeds the fire of their negative behavior. Intimidators aim for a win, so refusing to let their mistreatment affect you deprives them of that. Band together with other colleagues who have been targeted for strength in numbers. When enough people come forward and complain, management is forced to act.

Dealing with Workplace Conflict

Inevitable conflicts can sometimes cripple an entire team’s productivity and morale. It’s important to address these conflicts as soon as possible before they escalate to uncontrollable levels. The first step is to take a step back and observe the situation in a neutral manner to identify the root cause of the conflict. Emotions involved should be identified as well, and it’s important to stay objective while doing so. Secondly, uncover the underlying need that’s driving the conflict. Once identified, a direct approach to addressing the issue is called for. In an example given, two colleagues fought over a promotion, leading to gossip and a tense work environment. To resolve the issue, the team leader spoke to the two colleagues separately and they were able to apologize and solve the problem. It’s important to always deal with workplace conflicts as soon as possible before they cause more damage.

Confronting Toxic Workplace Behavior

To avert and mitigate toxic office behavior, it’s vital to address them before they become overwhelming. Ignoring it only gives permission for more poor conduct. Acknowledge your co-workers to support you and identify the toxic behavior that’s causing issues in the workplace. Distinctly and calmly confront the perpetrator and ensure you take the issue to the management if it persists. Don’t endure it; raise it.

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