Agencies specialising in procurement recruitment and supply chain recruitment take meticulous care in selecting the best talent to put forward for supply chain and procurement jobs. But sometimes errors are made and the wrong person gets a highly responsible role. Alternatively, candidates could go to an organisation where a manager or colleague enjoys making life difficult for everyone else.

So, how do diligent professionals in supply chain jobs or procurement jobs manage a “toxic” colleague who delights in bullying those they manage and emotionally distressing those they work alongside? Lawyer David Gillespie, an expert on “taming” psychopathic workmates, has thought of five core coping mechanisms for managing these destructive colleagues.

  1. Acceptance

It may not be pleasant, but toxic people exist in every workplace. Begin by accepting that they’re wired differently to you and will not think twice about using you and your colleagues as tools to advance their own interests. Never underestimate their self-promoting ruthlessness but be alert to it.

  1. Always remain civil and business-like

No matter what the injustice you’ve experienced or witness, don’t provide ammunition for a disciplinary procedure against you. Don’t try to make friends but do remain polite, professional and firmly within the confines of your own role at all times, whatever the provocation.

  1. Protect your privacy

Casual remarks you might make in informal conversation will be used by toxic workmates to besmirch you or others. Don’t risk disclosing private information in their company, and ensure that your social media privacy settings are robust. Confine your comments to business-related issues and completely above board.

  1. Remain honest

Even when it seems against your interests, honesty is crucial in handling toxic workmates. They may seek to tempt you to, for instance, claim more expenses that you’re entitled to, or give you credit for something that you didn’t do. As Gillespie says, they’re collecting dirt, so always politely decline these corrupt gestures.

  1. Document everything

Don’t be content with verbal requests. Immediately follow up any agreement with an email confirmation and keep a printed copy of their reply. Ask for written clarification of anything you are uncertain about. These documented responses are your defence if anything should do wrong.

Working with such a toxic colleague can be extremely draining, but Gillespie argues that as long as you remain professional at all times and don’t take anything personally, you should be able to navigate these difficulties. However, a brief note of hope should also be added. Never feel like you are stuck with these people for the next five, ten, twenty years. Procurement recruitment agencies are always advertising new and dynamic supply chain jobs, the opportunities are there and you have only to take advantage of them.

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