Employee Engagement & Company Culture | TINYpulse

11 Ways a Nightmare Coworker Sucks the Life Out of Employees

Written by Sabrina Son | Jan 20, 2016 1:00:00 PM

So far, we've talked about nightmare cultures and nightmare bosses. What about nightmare coworkers?

Peers make a huge impact in the workplace. We work with these people on a daily basis and require their support for certain tasks. It's only logical that we're able to work seamlessly with them. After all, our Employee Engagement Report found that peers are the number one reason why people love their job. Here are 11 ways a terrible coworker can make any employee's life miserable.


1. Employees are stuck doing double the work

A terrible coworker doesn't hold themselves accountable for their own work. Somehow, they manage to get by without doing much, and you're left to cover for them just to get even the smallest task done. Burnout island, anyone?


2. Glory is stolen

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Just like a nightmare boss, a bad coworker will also take credit for accomplishments that aren't their own. Or they'll blow up their menial contributions to exponential proportions. Meaning, they're always trying to overshadow their hard-working peers that actually put in true effort.


3. Accomplishing tasks is like pulling teeth

Unorganized coworkers make getting anything accomplished a painful process. Deadlines aren't met and you're constantly scrambling to getting work done because one person didn't prioritize their time well.


(Sick of coworkers stomping on your success? Click here to anonymously refer your company to us)


4. There's always bad air

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Happiness is contagious. And unfortunately, so is negativity. A coworker that's constantly down, complaining, and bringing the mood down will only zap your energy.


5. Employees feel bullied

Constructive criticism is a great practice for helping people improve their work and performance. But that doesn't mean you need to give it for every single task.

A terrible coworker is quick to find the flaws and tack on their unsolicited opinion. This leaves their peers feeling like they just can't get anything right. The other scenario would be that employees will refuse to collaborate with this Negative Nancy.


6. Rivalry creates resistance

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Friendly competition and gamification can add fun flair to your organizational culture. But when one person turns every single task (even competing on who drinks more coffee each day) into a competition, that's where things go wrong.

Coworkers are supposed to work with each other and help each other succeed, not the other way around. Rivarly eliminates the collaborative environment that's needed to improve employee engagement and innovation. 


7. No challenges to accept

There's a difference between coworkers butting heads and challenging each other. A great coworker will push you to think outside of the box. And a terrible coworker? Well, they're no better than a log in the middle of the road.


9. They're quick to bad-mouth people

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Being surrounded by a nightmare coworker is kind of like being back on the playground in elementary school. You constantly hear this person saying, "They did it. Not me." "They made the decision." "I had nothing to do with it."

A terrible coworker won't hesitate to throw you under the bus or even just lie to make you look bad. Who doesn't think that's infuriating?


10. They pickpocket you

No, they don't physically take money from your wallet. But a bad coworker will pickpocket you by stealing your clients or customers.

People feel robbed when their coworkers do this. If you think about it, stealing someone's comission is taking away their livelihood.


11. Call you by the wrong name

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A terrible coworker doesn't pay attention to anyone else but themselves. And they won't even bother to learn your name.

Nothing's more awkward than someone calling you by the wrong name during a meeting.

As we said earlier, peers make a huge difference in the workplace. And to avoid hiring a toxic coworker, try this out: do peer interviews during the hiring process. This will help you guage how well a candidate will mesh with your current team.