There are people that can be very efficient in terms of how they perform their daily tasks and they can be highly skilled at their profession, but they can also be highly toxic employees. We all know someone like this and unfortunately, a single toxic employee can ruin an entire work environment.
The following are some signs of a toxic person at work:
• They are judgemental towards others with every opportunity they get
• They do not have the habit of apologizing and when they do, it feels forced
• They will show a lack of interest or care for the way other people feel
• They are likely to manipulate situations to ensure that they come out on top
• They are never wrong and when they feel cornered, they try to redirect the focus
• They are quick to point fingers at others when things go wrong
If you have an employee in the workforce that shows any of these signs, maybe it is time to start considering a course of action. Some people would say that those who display toxic traits should always be fired, but the approach can be different.
Sometimes people become toxic due to personal issues or because they come from a toxic environment. There are many cases when people become toxic when they work in harsh environments. In many situations, they just need to be redirected and assured that they can stop behaving this way.
Learning to recognise the difference between toxic employees and difficult ones
There is a huge difference between an employee that is difficult to work with and one that is toxic. For example, the difficult employee can be very argumentative, but the way in which the argument is presented looks to benefit the workforce, not to criticize it without a purpose. In contrast, the toxic employee can present arguments that seek to demoralize others.
A good leader digs deep into the issue
If you have a toxic employee that has shown to be productive and reliable, you may want to dig deeper in order to find out what is happening. Maybe the employee is going through a very difficult time in their personal life or a co-worker is making their life difficult. Sometimes it can be surprising to find out how there are many employees who start showing toxicity due to problems that can be solved.
The dangers of a toxic employee
A toxic employee is similar to one that comes into the office with the flu. This person is very likely to infect others with that virus and toxic behaviour is an even easier bug to catch. This is the main reason why a toxic employee needs to be stopped assertively, but also by trying to help them see the issue in order to correct it promptly.
If you feel that you are having a hard time spotting toxic behaviour, a good way to do this is to conduct an anonymous survey. Ask employees to let you know if they are having issues with a co-worker without having to mention their name. This is a good way to start finding clues as to what could be happening within the work environment.
Not all toxic employees can change their ways easily, but at the same time, many of them just need someone to listen to their problems. It is always a good idea to take the time to look into the issue to see if the employee can get back on track. Sometimes it is a good idea to avoid losing a talented employee if the existing issues can be corrected.
At HR Expertise, our HR consultants in Melbourne and across Australia support the delivery of managing bad behaviours. Contact us today, we would love to work with you.