Most people have worked with a toxic employee at some point in their career. Maybe it was someone who never got any work done, or maybe it was a negative person who brought everyone else in the office down.
Either way, a toxic worker can be a real drain – but that isn’t all. Research has found that unpleasant employees can cause other valuable employees to quit, and they can even make the employees who remain physically sick.
So if you have an employee who is causing stress, it is best to deal with them sooner, rather than later! Here are six tips to help you deal with a toxic employee.
1. How To Deal With A Toxic Employee: Have A Calm, Private Conversation
One of the first things you can do is take the employee aside for a calm, thoughtful, private conversation. Sometimes people are unaware that they are being toxic, and it could be due to personal issues; for instance, they could be having problems at home, or they may be struggling with their mental health. So have a private conversation with them about their behaviour, and really listen to their response. If they need support at work you may be able to put them in touch with a counsellor, or if they need some time off you could encourage them to go on sick leave.
2. Expect Pushback If They Are Toxic
If the employee is truly toxic it is likely they will push back during this conversation. They may try to shift blame to other employees, or they may simply deny what you are saying. Remember that people rarely change overnight, and that isn’t the goal of the conversation; the goal is to set clear rules and boundaries for the employee going forward.
3. Keep A Record
Make a record of the date you spoke to the employee, and write down a brief summary of the conversation. You can use this list next time you sit down with the employee to talk about their behaviour, and it also means there is a record if you ultimately decide to fire the employee.
And if you’re not their boss or manager, make sure to give a written record to your boss too. It is important to keep management in the loop, especially if this employee is affecting your mental health or work performance.
4. Give Feedback In Front Of Other Employees
A private conversation is the best way to bring any issues up, but it is also important to not let problems in public pass by going forward. This shows other employees that you care about maintaining a positive, productive workspace – and it also shows that toxic behaviour will not go unnoticed. This doesn’t mean you have to tell them off, but it could be beneficial to say something like “Hey, you seem to be struggling today. Shall we have a chat in private, or is there something you want to tell the team?”
5. Remember Not Everyone Will Change
Most people are willing to grow and mature, but some people are simply unwilling to change. If you have spoken to a toxic employee repeatedly about their behaviour and it still continues, it may be time to consider more serious courses of action. This could be giving them a formal warning, or it could be terminating their employment.
6. Don’t Forget About Your Own Growth
Finally don’t forget about your own goals and growth! Difficult employees can be stressful and time-consuming to manage, so make sure you still have time for your own career. Don’t let one person hold you back from reaching your goals, especially if they are stagnating in their own career.