Dealing with a Toxic Employee


Toxic employees can really kill the morale in any workplace. They can turn a once happy workforce into a bunch of anxious, stressed, angry and even depressed bunch. This, in turn, can affect productivity and lead to the loss of some great talent.


As a result, it is important that you, as an employer, are equipped to deal with these sneaky, disrespectful, sometimes downright nasty people swiftly. Here are some tips to help you with that:

State Your Expectations

When you have a toxic employee in your midst, it’s more important than ever that you lay down the law, state your expectations and make it clear exactly what will happen to any employees who do not adhere to them. It can help, when enforcing this, if you have something in writing. So, create an employee handbook or use employment law services to help you draw up a contract that will enable you to dismiss employees for behavioral reasons. It won’t always work, but if that toxic employee knows there will be consequences for their actions, they might think twice before behaving poorly.


Lead by Example

As the boss, it is up to you to lead by example and show those toxic employees how they should be behaving. So, refrain from being anything but your best when you’re around them, and when you notice them behaving in a more positive way, give them some positive acknowledgement in return.


Discuss Boundaries

Toxic people in the workplace often infect others by intruding on their personal boundaries and making their lives more unpleasant than they need to be. As the boss, it is up to you to make it clear that personal boundaries must be respected. It may also be a good idea for you to enrol your employees on a course that teaches building mental boundaries as well as trust.


Offer Assertiveness Training

It may also be a good idea for you to offer assertiveness training to all of your employees so that if a toxic member of staff starts making their working day more difficult than it should be, they will know how to tackle the situation firmly without inflaming anger.


Offer an Ear

If you have a toxic employee and you know it’s affecting other members of staff, offer a kind ear on which they can unload their issues, get some much-needed support and look at ways of solving the problem, and actually do something about it.


Give Actionable Feedback

As the boss, it is up to you to keep that toxic employee in check. You can do this by evaluating their behavior, flagging it up with them and giving them very specific information on how they can and must improve.


Fire Them

If all else fails, you may just have to bite the bullet and fire that toxic employee for the wellbeing of yourself and the rest of your employees; unfortunately some toxic people just cannot change.

Dealing with a toxic employee can be tough, but it is possible to make positive changes, using the above techniques. Try them before you fire them, and you could bring back harmony to your workplace without it costing you a lot of time and money.


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