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4 Things Taylor Swift’s New Song Taught Us About Toxic Workplace Behaviours

“Look What You Made Me Do”, and other things you probably should not say (out loud) at work.

Taylor Swift’s controversially addictive song “Look what you made me do” may have its equal share of lovers and haters. Though it doesn’t matter which side you are on because fortunately, we believe there’s something everyone can learn from it.

Yes, “Look what you made me do” might just be a song, and we must admit that it’s quite a catchy one (in a new age triggering sort of way) at that. Nonetheless, we decided to have a little more fun with it because let’s face it, just taking at face value would be such a waste.

So here they are – some of the (bad) attitudes that everyone should not, under any circumstance, display in their respective workplaces.

Not taking responsibility for your actions

The role you made me play

Taking ownership of your work and actions may seem intuitive for most, but it’s easy to fall into the trap of blaming anyone or anything else for the eventual (failed) outcome of a project.

Often, it may be a fear of failure or inability to deal with the consequences that prevents one from acknowledging and accepting the choices made that have led them to where they are.

It is important to remember that accepting responsibility for one’s actions is an active decision you need to make. It is a more efficient way of reaching a resolution, instead of waiting for someone else to take the initiative to solve a problem.

More importantly, it shows that you’re reliable and trustworthy because of the accountability you demonstrate.

Passive Aggression

We may all be a little guilty of the occasional passive aggressive comment or snide remark when things don’t go our way. That’s perfectly understandable, and it doesn’t mean you’re a bad person.

But, if done a little too often, then it may signal a deeper unresolved conflict and tension with others that you may be experiencing in your workplace. Try and figure out why your colleague might be acting this way and practice directness when dealing with them.

Passive aggression does not only manifest in the things you say but your actions as well. From procrastination to withholding important information, do look out for these red flags of passive aggressive behaviour in the workplace.

When it comes to interacting with passive aggressive co-workers, it’s best to set clear boundaries so they know what lines can’t be crossed. A couple thinly veiled insults and it may be time to really exclude yourselves from their narratives.

Holding grudges

I’ve got a list of names and yours is in red, underlined
But not for me, not for me, all I think about is karma

Of course, there are more productive uses of one’s time. We’re not saying to completely forget and forgive past mistakes. Time is still ultimately the best judge of character and you should trust your instincts if someone consistently demonstrates negative traits.

However, if you spend an inordinate amount of time obsessing and keeping score it could negatively affect your productivity and quality of work.

It doesn’t help if you’re surrounded by people who thrive on drama because becoming preoccupied with negativity and getting sucked into office gossip sessions is a slippery slope. Your mind will slowly but surely be drawn to any opportunity to drag up and ‘right’ past wrongs against you, and you’ll soon be seen as a depressing influence on everyone around you.

Be sure to nip such attitudes in the bud before they snowball. Piece of advice?

Being distrusting

I don’t trust nobody and nobody trusts me.

That’s just sad.

Trust is earned and it’s a two-way street. If you’d like to build trust with your colleagues, then you should display some level of trust in them too. This is by no means a blind acceptance of everything they say and do, but in some situations, it may be good to give the benefit of the doubt.

No matter how cynical you are, it’s good to keep in mind that most of the people you come across are not intentionally out to cause trouble (trouble trouble), and hence negative assumptions on your part may lead to more unproductive behaviour down the road.

Ultimately, learning how to navigate one’s workplace takes experience and time. Every workplace is different, and while you can’t help the actions of others, these are certain behavioural traits to look out for so you don’t unknowingly become that toxic colleague that nobody wants anything to do with.

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