Dealing with Dysfunctional Coworkers

Does your workplace have coworkers who complain constantly, fail to pull their weight or behave as drama mamas? You are not alone. Dysfunctional employees are everywhere and they can make the workday extra stressful.

Whether you are dealing with a self-promoter, gossip master or lazy lug, you still need to deal with them in a professional manner.  Don’t respond to their pleas for help or dramatic antics. Chances are they will not change their behavior. But you can control how you react to toxic personalities.

Here are four common types of dysfunctional employees and ways to work with them without losing your cool:

  1. The self-promoter.  Everyone enjoys tooting their own horn. But sometimes a coworker will take credit for another person’s work. Your best bet is to say on top of your work and not get sucked into a game of one-upmanship.
  2. The Lazy lug. This person is a drain on productivity and morale. And usually pretty disagreeable when caught not working. Enlist some allies and address the person directly. Or else continue picking up his or her slack.
  3. The saboteur. This person enjoys seeing others struggle or fail. He or she may have been passed over for a promotion or bonus and feels justified in not being a team player. Always have proof of what you have done in case this person tries to blame you for mistakes.
  4. The Drama Master.  Everything that happens to this person is earth-shattering. If there is a major disagreement on the job, this person is in the middle. Your best bet? Do not engage.

The good news is that by controlling your behavior, you set an example to others on what to do to create a healthier work environment.

Robin Farmer is a freelance journalist with a focus on health, business and education. Visit her at



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