No one likes a toxic team player, they impact morale and make what should be a passionate enjoyable pursuit into something potentially unbearable. Even the most difficult people would probably be the first to agree. Which raises a question: If you were “toxic,” would you even know it?
Here are three reasons you might seem toxic, and strategies for changing your behavior if necessary:
You seem cold.
To turn up your warmth quotient, make a conscious attempt to pay attention to other people. Make eye contact and hold it, both when you’re speaking and when you’re listening. And above all else, actually focus on what other people are saying, listen — your team mates have a need to feel heard, just as you do.
You seem selfish.
How much time do you spend really thinking about your team mates? About their perspectives? Be curious, and ask questions to learn more about the people you don’t know well. Show empathy.
People think of you as a stickler for the rules.
Make a point of being more flexible about rules, particularly those that are neither unethical nor illegal to break. When you have to stick to the rules, explain your thinking and why doing so is good for your team.