Managing Toxic & Other Employees Who Have Attitude Issues

Recorded Session
60 Minutes


    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.

    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

Why Should You Attend?

    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 being 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

Area 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, 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 in 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 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 of 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
    • Expertise & experience of the toxic employee are lost

Who will benefit?

    Anyone with managerial or leadership responsibility

Webinar Option
Downloadable Recorded Session
Training CD

Speaker Profile

ins_img Pete Tosh

Pete Tosh is Founder of The Focus Group, a management consulting and training firm that assists organizations in sustaining profitable growth through four core disciplines:Implementing Strategic HR Initiatives: Executive Search, Conducting HR Department Audits, Enhancing Recruiting, Interviewing & Selection Processes, Installing Performance Management Programs, Conducting Training Needs Assessments, Installing HR Metrics, etcMaximizing Leadership Effectiveness: Facilitating Team Building Initiatives, Designing and Facilitating 360 Performance Assessments, Executive Coaching, Measuring and Enhancing Employee Engagement and Performance, etcStrategic Planning: Facilitating Strategic Planning Events, Establishing Succession Plans, Installing Business Performance Metrics, etcEnhancing Customer Loyalty: Conducting Customer Satisfaction Surveys, Facilitating Customer Advisory Councils, Developing Standards of …