Saving your company from a toxic employee

What can you do when you see a toxic attitude spreading among your employees and can't let anyone go?

Organizational culture is determined by the last person promoted.  If you promoted a toxic person – you taught everyone else that the way to get ahead is to be rude.

Without knowing exactly what the “toxic attitude” is, it is hard to give you a course of action to take.

But in general – you don’t reward the behavior you want and you do reward the behavior you do want. If there is toxic attitudes being adopted, it’s because you are rewarding – inadvertently – the toxic behavior.  In other words, whatever incentives you have – they are perverse and need to be corrected or the status quo will remain.

Also – you can always let someone go. Always. The idea that someone is so important you can’t function without them is lazy thinking and counter-productive. Toxic individuals are productivity black holes. The reason they seem to be the most productive is because they are taking up everyone else’s time and making everyone else less productive.  Once the toxic person is gone and people don’t have to spend half their day catering to the toxic person’s whims, the productivity of the remaining staff flourishes. Exponentially so. I used to work at a non-profit. I fired a toxic volunteer and within 3 years we gained an additional 20,000 hours of volunteer time that was no possible while the toxic volunteer was there. That one toxic volunteer was costing us the equivalent of 10 full time employees! 

Truly toxic employees drain productivity. The best way to prevent their toxic attitude from spreading – is to get rid of them. As long as they are tolerated  - you are sending a message that this behavior is not only acceptable – but rewarded.

To learn more about how to stop bullying and other unwanted behaviors in the workplace - take one of my online courses:

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