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Managing Toxic & Other Employees Who Have Attitude Issues

PETE TOSH
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Description

Most organizations have employees who on occasion:

  • Complain & gossip excessively
  • Use inappropriate language
  • Are mildly insubordinate

But Toxic Employees have interpersonal styles that demonstrate a pattern of counter-productive work behaviors.

While Emotionally Intelligent employees are aware of their feelings & those of others exhibit a pattern of appropriate self-management.

The toxic employee problem is surprisingly prevalent with research showing:

  • 95% of employees have & 64% are currently working with a toxic employee
  • 50% of employees have thought of quitting & 12% did because of a toxic employee
  • 25% of employees have reduced their work effort due to a toxic employee
  • 20% of employees feel they are a target weekly & 10% of employees see toxic behavior daily

Toxic employees cause significant overt, covert, people-related & financial damage with their visible behavior just being the tip

of the iceberg. For example, in one organization the day a former employee left the organization is considered one of their annual holidays.

Areas Covered:-

I. Human & Financial Costs Resulting from Toxic Employees

Toxic Employees Create:

  • Chaos & unnecessary complexity
  • Overt damage
  • Covert damage
  • Strife, stress & emotional damage
  • Productivity, quality & financial losses

II. The A, B, and C’s Related to Toxic Employees

  • Employee attitudes
  • Employee behaviors
  • Consequences that managers can exert

III. The Psyche of a Toxic Employee

  • Frequently seen toxic behaviors
  • Utilize ‘star status’ & technical expertise to intimidate & manipulate
  • A chameleon who knows who to flatter & who he/she can abuse Turn their toxicity on & off depending on the impression they want to make
  • Three common forms of toxic behavior

IV. Common Reactions to Toxic Employees That Frequently Don’t Work

  • Restructuring his/her job to accommodate the toxic employee
  • Tolerating toxic employees who bring rare expertise or experience
  • Not assertively seeking feedback from employees as to whether there is toxic behavior in the workplace
  • Not communicating to all employees, the specific behaviors that will not be tolerated – with associated consequences

V. Effective Approaches for Addressing & Preventing Toxicity

Organization-wide strategies:

  • Making positive interpersonal behavior an organizational value
  • Evaluating interpersonal behavior as a part of the performance appraisal system
  • Training leaders on how to address toxic behavior
  • Using behavioral-based interview questions to screen toxic applicants
  • Exit interviewing to identify any toxic behavior in the workplace

Departmental & team strategies:

  • Defining appropriate interpersonal interactions with behavior-specific descriptions & standards
  • Using team discussions & role plays to clarify the application of the behavioral descriptions & standards
  • Utilizing a 360-degree feedback process to assess the work environment

One-on-one strategies:

  • Stating explicitly that the behavior is not acceptable & why
  • Describing both the unacceptable & acceptable behavior
  • Asking the employee to commit to & describe how he/she will change his/her behavior
  • Frequent, targeted counseling feedback
  • Executive coaches
  • Progressive discipline
  • Termination

But even terminations are not a cure-all because the:

  • Toxic-enabling people & organizational culture tendencies may remain
  • Employees may still be resentful of the way they were treated by the employee & the time it took the organization to react
  • The expertise & experience of the toxic employee are lost

Why should you Attend:-

Clever toxic employees:

  • Utilize their technical expertise to intimidate & manipulate
  • Know who to flatter & who they can abuse
  • Turn their toxicity on & off depending on the impression they want to make

Unfortunately, organizations can work against themselves & even promote toxicity by:

  • Restructuring his/her job to accommodate a toxic employee
  • Tolerating toxic employees who have valued expertise
  • Not assertively seeking employee feedback as to whether there is toxic behavior in the workplace
  • Not communicating to all employees the specific interpersonal behaviors that will not be tolerated – with the associated consequences

Managers sometimes attempt to fix this type of problem by addressing a toxic employee's attitude.

And while a toxic employee's attitude certainly affects his/her behavior, managers usually find that controlling an employee's attitude is next to impossible

Managers can be much more effective by:

  • Discussing the specific behaviors that are negatively impacting other employees and/or the organization
  • Using positive & negative consequences to influence that behavior

Who will Benefit:-

Anyone with managerial or leadership responsibility.

Training Options

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