Managing Toxic & Other Employees Who Have Attitude Issues

On Demand

  • 75 minutes

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  

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.

Session Highlights:

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 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 play 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 

  • Expertise & experience of the toxic employee are lost

Why you should 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 should attend:

Anyone with managerial or leadership responsibility

*You may ask your Question directly to our expert during the Q&A session.
** You can buy On-Demand and view it at your convenience.

Pete Tosh

Pete Tosh

Pete Tosh is the Founder of The Focus Group, a management consulting and training firm that assists organizations in sustaining profitable growth.

Prior to founding his own firm 25 years ago, Pete had 15 years of experience — at the divisional and corporate levels — in Human Resource and Quality functions. Pete held leadership positions — including the V.P. of Human Resources and Quality — with Allied Signal, Imperial Chemical Industries, Reynolds Metals, Charter Medical, and Access Integrated Networks

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