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The best way of avoiding workplace contagion by toxic workers is to minimize contact.
People are four times more likely to communicate regularly with individuals who are seated two meters away versus 20 meters away. So move your desk away from workplace jerks, as you'll be less likely to be the target of their actions and behaviors.
Slow the rhythm of your exchanges with toxic workers as much as possible. By doing so, you'll deny the abuser the positive reinforcement and pleasure they crave when they abuse others.
Reduce the frequency of communications. Limit meetings such that they are only scheduled on an as-needed basis. As well, when possible, minimize email communications and delay email response times.
Oftentimes, an early warning system is best developed with the succor of a toxic worker's secretary or executive assistant.
Because these individuals are best suited to predict rash behavior and/or mood swings. If you're able to successfully enlist individuals in the know, they can be invaluable in terms of alerting you not only of an asshole's presence, but also of his/her daily levels of "asshole-ness."
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