Work Environment

6 Tips to Deal with a Toxic Employee!

Toxic employees suck energy out of a workplace. They are often arrogant who delight in pitting other employees against each other. They are disruptive in meetings, miss deadlines and blame others.

If you don’t handle toxic employees with diplomacy and some strategy, before you know it your team is unhappy, your productivity is affected and you may have a  Personal Grievance on your desk from an employee who has had enough.

How employees behave and interact with each other are equally important because they define your  workplace culture. Negativity and  gossip poison your employees and end up with a toxic work environment and  unhappy people. Employees don’t like working in unhappy places, and the longer the toxicity exists the more likely they are to leave.

Here’s Some Tips To Consider

1.     Have a thoughtful discussion with them in private

Often  people  exhibiting toxic behaviours have problems in their home life and are unaware they’re reacting to that outside stressor in a disruptive or disrespectful way at work. Until you have a conversation with them you won’t know the root cause of the bad behavior.

They may need the help of a leadership coach who can assist with specific coping techniques. Or they may need medical help should their behavioural problems be rooted in a more serious medical concern, such as mental health or substance abuse disorders.

2.           Comment on their behavior, not their character

If you start a conversation by telling someone they’re being condescending, you’re not going to make much headway as they will become defensive. You are more likely to get their attention when you say; “hey in the meeting yesterday when you mentioned  you didn’t agree with one of the ideas,  it came across in a very negative tone, and that behaviour is not okay”. You could follow this by saying something like; “what was the outcome you were looking for when you said that”? Let’s brainstorm some different ways you could have asked that question”.

3.     Define the boundaries

Many toxic people continue their behaviour because they lack context. Try to establish boundaries with employees; that way, when you have to  become the disciplinarian, you don’t have to worry about changing the nature of the relationship. Be ready to say “no” a little more often and don’t be afraid to take a hard stance to end a conversation.

4.           Offer constructive feedback in public

Although a private conversation with your employee is a good place to tackle nitty gritty details, letting things pass in a group environment can send the wrong message to the other employees.  Don’t let obnoxious behavior go without saying something.

Remember the rest of the team are  watching you, and if don’t say anything, you are seen to be condoning bad behaviour. You don’t need to reprimand them in public, but you could say something like “you seem frustrated, is there some constructive criticism you would like to share?”

5.           Document the behavior

Toxic behaviour rarely manifests as big blowouts. Usually, a number of small offenses occur and  add up over time, sufficiently so to become an issue that needs addressing. Keep a list of actions that  give you or any of your other staff cause for concern. This information can be used to justify disciplinary action if the toxic behaviour does not improve, if required.

Often toxic employees have no idea their laziness, gossip and negativity is having such a big effect on other staff.  Bad behaviour should always be nipped in the bud quickly. If it persists, employers have disciplinary processes available to them.

6.           Do your Best

Begin an employer is not easy task at time. On my wall I have a little plaque that says; Our One Rule ; Use Good Judgement In all Situations. Do your best is good little mantra to have in the back of your head when dealing with toxic staff.