Heidi Grant Halvorson asks: “Are you a toxic colleague?”

And then, extending her challenge, she asks: “How would you know?”

Dr. Halvorson is associate director for the Motivation Science Center at the Columbia University Business School and author of the bestselling Nine Things Successful People Do Differently. Her latest book is No One Understands You and What to Do About It.

She says almost no one would admit to being a toxic colleague. In fact, it’s likely that those who are toxic aren’t aware of the fact. Research shows that “most of the time there is remarkably little overlap between how other people see us and how we think we’re coming across,” she explains.

The person who sees himself or herself as The All American Joy at work may be seen by his or her coworkers as The All American Pain.

Dr. Halvorson says we can’t control the perceptions of others, but there are ways we can exert great influence on them. In a nutshell, she urges people to really care about other people and show them that you care. If that’s hard for you, she suggests three ways to improve.

I’d suggest a fourth – pray. Ask God to open your heart to be more caring of others. While that’s gradually happening you might also find Dr. Halvorson’s suggestions very helpful.


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