As HR experts, you strive tirelessly to build a work atmosphere and an organizational culture that increases profitability, improve loyalty, and encourages employee happiness. It is fundamental for maintaining an active business as long as possible. However, despite all your stunning endeavors, you can't control individuals' intrinsic perspectives and practices. Whether you like it or not, you'll eventually have to interact with employees who bring their bitterness, personal troubles, and other problems to work every day.
In other terms, from time to time, you'll need to find out how to cope with a toxic employee. Because the longer a bad apple stays in your company, the more it will hurt your culture (and your team). Toxic employees generate chaos, kill confidence, and undermine the effectiveness of coworkers.
Identifying toxic employees is the first step to handling the problem. There are some common traits that can identify whether an employee is toxic.
Common Types Of Toxic Employees
The Bully- Employees with domineering behavior who throw you under the bus so that they can shine in the spotlight and get all the promotions.
The Micro-managers- The kind of managers who needs to learn EVERYTHING that's going in the office. Thus, they add a lot of tension to the workers. In simple words, they are control freaks.
The Pessimist- The one who always feels negative about a project or customers. They keep the constant habit of disagreeing, criticizing, and complaining.
The Grumpy Nay-sayer- They are hot-tempered and outright dangerous. Nothing can put a smile on his or her face. It appears that they have a problem with anything new being implemented within the organization.
The Volcano- They have huge anger issues and uses it quite often. They may explode at their coworkers and clients, creating a fearful environment for everyone else around them.
The Upstart- They always think they know how to do everything, considering their way is a better way to do it.
The Hyper-competitive- They soak up all new opportunities, demotivating their coworkers.
The Slacker- They roam around the office and usually only make an effort to get their job done when they know that the boss is watching.
The Gossiper- They who love to gossip juicy workplace scandals now and then. They can make their own hush-hush stories and spend a lot of time socializing with others.
The Procrastinator- The one who always says, "I will do it tomorrow." They are full of distractions from time to time.
The Excuse maker- They are the 'that is not my job,' person. They show a lack of interest, motivation, and higher absenteeism.
The Workaholic- They are the over-timers who never take time off. They are more prone to stress and burnout.
4 Tips For Dealing With Toxic Employees In The Workplace
1. Gather the right information
Most toxic people may not realize that they have a problem. Before firing, the manager should go to the individual and understand the root cause of his or her behavior. Some of them might have emotional or psychological issues attached to their workplace. You should talk out all the details and explain how that behavior causes difficulties for others in the workplace.
It can turn into difficult conversations. But every individual needs to consider the consequences of going on with poor conduct and understand the value of good behavior.
A keynote speaker and workforce consultant, Jeff Butler, wrote in his blog, "Without this step, the toxic employee will have no reason to improve their past behavior. Usually, a good benchmark is stating, 'If your behavior on x, y, z does not approve in 30 days, you will be put on performance review.' He further added, "Sometimes a toxic employee after being approached would approach other team members and confront them ... thinking they are negative. Make sure to address this in when setting boundaries."
2. Establish a feedforward plan
One strategy advocated by business educator and coach Marshall Goldsmith to deal with toxic employees is "feedforward." Feedforward is the opposite of feedback. Rather than dwelling on what occurred in the past, Feedforward
addresses actionable ways workers should take to tackle negative behaviors.
On his blog, Goldsmith said, "Feedforward is especially suited to successful people. Successful people like getting ideas that are aimed at helping them achieve their goals. They tend to resist negative judgment."
3. Amend the wrong behavior
Considering a great company culture, managers should update the office policies and reflect the new expectations. You should keep a list of behaviors or activities that would welcome disciplinary actions.
There may be a specific process that the organization follows with the toxic employees. That process can include training or a course that can help in making bad behavior better. It can happen over a book and can even need the help of a counselor. Then, daily sessions held with the person can ensure that he or she is learning and growing.
4. Get ready to make hard decisions
A toxic person can drag everyone down. A manager needs to find means to minimize the amount of time that he or she spends interacting with the coworkers, who might get influenced.
In extreme cases, when an individual is intolerable in the workplace and can not be talked out of the behavior, there is a risk that you may require full punitive measures, up to and including firing. Removing the toxic person can act like immunizing your team.
If you address the above things head-on, you'll find dealing with toxic employees much more comfortable than you could imagine. And when you find a solution, give it some time because behaviors are not easy to change. And remember, all these come at the price of a robust and productive workplace environment.