Signs You’re Dealing with a “Toxic Employee”

Everyone has their ups and downs and off days. At what point does a difficult employee become a toxic employee? There are several definitive signs.


They Constantly Stir the Pot

Maybe they’re the one who always initiates harmful workplace gossip. Or maybe they spread lies and rumors to deliberately create dissension among your team. Whatever the case may be, a toxic employee can’t help but stir the pot. It’s just part of their nature. Wherever they go, conflict follows them, and it inevitably “infects your workplace.”


They Make Excuses for Their Shortcomings

Do you have an employee who’s incapable of owning up to their mistakes? Even worse, do they have the unsavory habit of blaming others when things go awry? If this is a chronic issue, you’re most likely dealing with someone with toxic tendencies.


A Bad Attitude is Their Default Setting

You can’t expect an employee to be 100 percent enthusiastic all of the time. Everyone experiences obstacles and hardships. However, a toxic employee will continually bring a bad attitude to your workplace, which can manifest itself in a variety of ways. Some examples include:

  • Constantly complaining
  • Looking for negatives in every situation
  • Getting frustrated at seemingly minor setbacks
  • Having zero enthusiasm

This is problematic because a bad attitude like this can spread to your other employees and damage your collective morale.


They Harass Co-workers

Once it gets to the point of harassment where an employee actually bullies others, there’s no denying that they have become toxic. This is obviously going to create an uncomfortable atmosphere where team members dread the thought of coming to work. It can lead to a higher absenteeism/tardiness rate and just think of the long-term impact on retention if you’ve got someone tearing others down.


Their Colleagues Don’t Want to Work with Them

If you’re finding that the rest of your staff are reluctant to work with a particular employee or you’re getting complaints from multiple parties, then you’ve got a problem on your hands. Although having tension between them and one other employee isn’t necessarily a cause for concern, issues with the majority of your workforce most definitely is. This is tangible evidence of a problematic pattern that should be addressed.


You’re Getting Complaints from Customers or Clients

There’s no denying the gravity of the situation when customers or clients begin to complain. Getting to this level shows that an employee’s poor behavior has transcended your workforce and is now afflicting your company on a much larger scale. This could potentially cost your business and hurt your brand reputation. Immediate intervention is vital.

There’s a big difference between a difficult employee and a toxic one. If you find that you’re dealing with the latter, resolve the situation with clear behavioral expectations or plan to let them go. If not, it can seriously disrupt your business and even cost you money.


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