How To Talk To Your Boss About A Toxic Coworker – An 8-Steps Guide

Written By Aleena

Many employees are struggling to manage toxic coworkers. Here’s a complete guide on how to talk to your boss about a toxic coworker.

A toxic coworker can be a nightmare to work with and affect your quality of life at work.

8 Steps To Talk To Your Boss About A Toxic Coworker

If you find yourself in the position of having to deal with a toxic coworker, there are some steps to talk to your boss about it:

1. Keep Records:

Keep records of everything. If there is any documentation, gather them together in one place so you can refer to it when necessary.


Record keeping can be a handy tool when dealing with these situations. Records can be in text messages, emails, phone call records, and memos.

You should attach all supporting documentation like:

– Emails

– Memos that illustrate the problem at hand

– Copies of revised job descriptions

– Copies of revised work plans.

For instance, if rumors are flying around about you. Act by collecting evidence documenting witness reports.

Speak up before the rumor mill has the opportunity to run rampant.

2. Be Specific – To Talk To Your Boss About A Toxic Coworker:

Know what your goal is and keep your message focused on that goal. It’s OK to spend time describing what has been happening.

However, keep the focus on what you are asking for. Be as specific as possible when talking to your boss or manager about a toxic coworker.

Also, do not try to be emotional about it. It’s also essential that you document everything. Make notes of conversations and meetings because information can slip through the cracks.

The best thing is to approach this person with your concerns laid out in writing.

A must is to try and get witnesses who are willing to go on record. It’s amazing what will happen when you witness to back you up.

The more information, the better it is. Thus, don’t be afraid to collect as much documentation as possible.

3. Meet With Your Boss – To Talk To Your Boss About A Toxic Coworker:

One of the most direct ways to talk to your boss about a toxic coworker is to schedule a meeting. Speak to them about it face to face.

Meeting with your boss over this issue will allow you the opportunity :

– To describe what has been occurring (fact-finding).

– For you and your boss to consider possible solutions together, such as:

1 Transferring the worker in question

2 Changing their work hours

3 Determining whether or not there should be disciplinary action against it.

4. State-Specific Examples – To Talk To Your Boss About A Toxic Coworker:

Be sure to include specific examples of how this person’s behavior affects you and the team.

In this way, your boss can understand the extent of the problem and know why it needs attention. Be calm and state facts, but also try “What do we need to do about it?”.

brings you down

Don’t forget to leave time for your manager to ask questions and clarify the problem.

Show your boss that you have been trying to solve the problem independently but have been unsuccessful.

You will show your boss that the issue is important to you by stating specific examples. Likewise, you will show you are serious about resolving it.

5. Work Together For A Solution – To Talk To Your Boss About A Toxic Coworker:

Being transparent is not attacking the person you need help with. Instead, work together to decide on a resolution to this issue.

Be specific about what actions can be taken. Let them know what you expect from them in the future about this situation.

It would help if you stayed calm and professional at all times. When confronting a toxic coworker, employees try to think through talking points.

It will reduce anxiety and keep everyone focused on finding a solution.

6. Separate Emotions From The Problem – To Talk To Your Boss About A Toxic Coworker:

It is not the time for you to vent or let your emotions get in the way of business. It is also not the time to point fingers at anyone.

Try to be as objective as possible. If you can’t do this yourself, ask trusted colleagues for advice. Likewise, ask for emotional support before speaking with your boss.

If it’s impossible to stay professional, then reschedule another meeting. There you can express yourself without getting too emotional.

7. Know When To Get Help And Don’t Be Afraid To Ask For It:

Prepare yourself before meeting up with your boss by doing research. It would help if you even ran through possible conversations in your head.

Not everyone has a natural talent for dealing with confrontation. If these steps are helpful in any way, take advantage of them! You can practice in front of friends or family.

8. Consider Your Options For Getting Help – To Talk To Your Boss About A Toxic Coworker:

When employees don’t know how to deal with such an issue, they might consider outside help. It can be a mediator or other trusted person who can step in and resolve.

We expect them not to make the situation worse. You can bring someone else into the meeting with your boss.

negative behavior

However, be sure that it is someone who knows both parties well. It means that they won’t take sides but rather help find a solution where everyone benefits.

If this isn’t possible, there are websites where employees post their issues anonymously. In this way, neither party has to be revealed during problem resolution.

10 Traits Of A Toxic Coworker

Here are several traits of a toxic coworker for you to recognize:

1. Gossip:

A toxic coworker might gossip about you or another person in your office. It is a common tactic that they use to sabotage the work of others and gain power within the group.

Ask them if they have something specific to say instead of talking behind others’ backs. If they continue, confront them with facts that prove the gossip is false.

2. Bullying And Intimidation:

A toxic coworker might try to intimidate you by yelling and making threats if you refuse what they want.

Confront this person and ask them to stop shouting and talk about it like adults. If this doesn’t work, then threaten to inform others of their actions.

Do so, especially if they don’t stop immediately. Employees call upon trusted friends or family when confronting such a problematic situation.

They ask for help preparing what they want to say to their boss or manager about a toxic coworker.

It is fine, but make sure the person you are speaking with can be objective. Likewise, someone should support both you and your company.

3. Intentionally Sabotaging Others:

A toxic coworker tries to sabotage you by completely ignoring your existence. They don’t pretend you are there when they talk to other peers.

How To Talk To Your Boss About A Toxic Coworker

If this happens, confront the coworker and ask them what is wrong. This sort of behavior can cause office-wide tension. It could spell trouble long after they leave the building.

4. Making Others Feel Inferior:

A toxic coworker might try to make you feel inferior by making remarks about:

– Your work

– Your personal choices

– The way that you look.

If this happens, then confront them and ask if they would like a list of all your accomplishments at the company.

Make it clear that anyone who has an issue with those things should go to you so they won’t have to backtalk someone else.

This tactic can be very effective if you don’t become argumentative. No matter how much trouble someone is causing you, always stay professional!

5. Blatant Disregard For Company Policy:

A toxic coworker might disregard company policies. Moreover, they might try to monopolize all the best projects.

If this happens, confront them. Let them know that you’re interested in joining those projects as well.

Be polite even if you feel like the other person isn’t interested in talking about the situation. Employees find it difficult to confront their boss over a toxic coworker.

However, if you cannot solve this problem yourself, don’t hesitate to ask for outside help.

6. Disrespect For Private And Personal Space:

A toxic coworker might try to invade your personal space. If this happens, confront them. Tell them that you don’t appreciate their invading your personal space.

Give them a warning before doing so. It can be challenging because there isn’t always a solution for this behavior. It is best to ignore it.

7. Disrespect For Managers Or Leaders:

A toxic coworker might try to disrespect the authority of managers or leaders at your job. If this happens, confront them.

How To Talk To Your Boss About A Toxic Coworker (2)

Tell them that you would appreciate it if they wouldn’t insult the person in charge. Let them know that you want them to treat managers and leaders with the same amount of respect as everyone else.

8. Spreading Rumors:

A toxic coworker tries to spread rumors about you or another person in your office. It is a common tactic they use to sabotage their work and gain power.

If this happens, confront the person who is spreading rumors. Ask them to make a list of all the things they are saying about you or others in your office.

Make sure they understand that any stories about you are untrue.

9. Employing A Toxic Mentality:

A toxic coworker might try to be toxic within your workplace by employing a “toxic mentality.” It means that they try their best to get along with everyone and never share their thoughts.

They will lie if asked what was said behind someone’s back and make it seem like everything is fine when it isn’t.

If this happens, confront them and tell them that there’s no need for lying. You don’t appreciate such treatment.

10. Horrible Work Ethics:

A toxic coworker might have a horrible work ethic. If this happens, confront them. Tell them that you would appreciate it if they would work as hard as everyone else.

Again, stay professional at all times! It is a tricky situation. The toxic coworker might not admit to having a problem, and leaving them alone isn’t always a solution.

It’s best to go through proper channels and discuss the situation with your boss.


Toxic coworkers can have a significant effect on one’s life and career. If you can’t resolve the problem yourself, ask for help.

Talk to your boss or manager about the situation and your concerns. Remember to be professional at all times, no matter what kinds of problems are.

Don’t let a toxic coworker ruin your life. Follow some of these tips and make sure they don’t get in the way of your career or workplace happiness!


Leave a Comment