6 Types of Toxic Employees

toxic employees

6 Types of Toxic Employees

We do not believe that members of this blacklist should be fired on sight without any chance to improve. Examine the types of people who poison the company’s atmosphere. For each of them, carrots and sticks should be tailor-made.

  1. The playwrights

These characters through gossip, intrigue, denunciations, insinuation, and innuendo make their colleagues bang their heads, professionally spin on the conflict, and then sit in the first row to witness the showdown. These destructive playwrights play in the company a negative social role, as a result of their activities, the productivity and the involvement in the workflow of many employees lower significantly.

The main problem when searching for leverage for the playwrights is that they are almost impossible to tame legally. Even if the company practices the policy of refusal to gossip, bringing the legal basis for this taboo is difficult. Detailed documentation of incidents involving “playwright” and what happens in the office is the most effective solution. Impose the first and final notice and if it does not help then fire the employee.

  1. The victims

Here is one of the most slippery types of office atmosphere poisoners. These people are absolutely impossible to get: they will always find tearful and plausible excuses for their own laziness and incompetence. When trying to avoid punishment, they tell sob stories and bring forward the pity. They are unreliable, not able to cope with the stress, and constantly ask for help.

One of the subspecies of employees-victims is chronic patients – they use any sneeze as an opportunity to stay at home. Management does not always have the ability to find out the true reasons for the lack of the hypochondriac in the workplace; however, the losses from the sick loafers for the company are more than real.

To deal with absentees, you can use strict (but not too much) discipline measures which should be applied to all employees without exception. No teacher’s pets or favorites! Each of the employees has a detailed and documented area of responsibility – certainty and timelines in all projects and tasks. The “patients” are allowed back to work only with a doctor’s note. In case nothing changes you should give a warning or fire the employee.

  1. The rebels

There are rules in every organization. In some, the discipline and the dress code are stricter, in others — easier and softer. However, there is always someone for whom “rule” equals “control” and, therefore, it should be avoided in any way. “Rebels” are against all rules, both simple and complex.

Any attempt to bring these people to senses ends up with even greater resistance. There are cases when such rebels attract other employees to their side, thus creating an office opposition. In a worst-case scenario, “rebels” become the leaders, leave the company and take the best employees with them. 

According to experts, in most cases, you do not need to fight the “rebels”. Typically, they are strong, independent individuals who know how to defend their position and are not afraid to swim against the current. So why not to try to force the rebellious spirit to produce some positive energy? Training or learning new skills would be welcome. Let the “rebels” try themselves in the field, where they will have to defend their opinion and try to express themselves: for example, in negotiations or PR.

The rules and requirements of the company should be inviolable and be respected by all employees, even those who disagree. It is fundamental. One who does not accept the rules of the game can play on his or her own, but outside of the field.

  1. The untouchables

The “untouchables” are strategically important employees and managers who are harmful to the performance of the company and its atmosphere and staff. The lack of professionalism, lack of knowledge and understanding of corporate ethics, emotionality, impulsivity, and a rich collection of complexes makes these employees the real office Cerberus: they intimidate, manipulate, humiliate, irritate, and de-motivate. Pacifying “the untouchables” (and ideally, of course, to fire) can be done by someone who is taller, smarter and stronger than them – a business owner or the person occupying a higher position in the company. It would be great if you could find this axis of evil early on. In this case, the outcome might be more favorable.

  1. The non-believers

If a person does not believe in something then he or she will not achieve any result and all the work will be reduced to a waste of time. This statement applies to all areas of human life and activities. “Non-believers” bury dreams and criticize ideas. They are inert and never get anywhere. They do not allow serious mistakes, but also never win. They are the gray background on which it is impossible to draw anything memorable. They only rejoice sincerely when their bank card balance replenishes.

These employees do the most damage in start-ups, developing projects, young companies looking to reach a higher level of development. “Non-believers” can rarely be influenced. Even if they change, it is usually for the worse. Why bother spending time on them?

  1. The know-it-alls

It would seem that an expert on all issues and a walking encyclopedia cannot hurt a company? Rich experience and diverse knowledge help them to quickly solve problems and find a way out of difficult situations. However, that is why such employees are harmful, primarily for growing business and companies creating new products and services. The best innovators are not experts but students. The original and successful solutions come to those who are not afraid to take risks, act intuitively, examine the strange, and implement illogical and irrational. During all this, the “know-it-all” will keep saying that the venture will work out and back up his or her words by hundreds of scientifically based arguments and examples from world history.

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