- Global Pharma News & Resources
12-Mar-2019 - 12-Mar-2019

Managing Toxic & Other Employees Who have Attitude Issues


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.

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 

Not communicating to all employees the specific interpersonal behaviors that will not be
tolerated -with the associated consequences

Managers can be much more effective by:

Discussing the specific behaviors that are negatively impacting other employees and/or the 

Using positive & negative consequences to influence that behavior

Why should you Attend

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 

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

Areas Covered in the Session

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

The A, B, C's Related to Toxic Employees

Employee attitudes

Employee behaviors

Consequences that managers can exert

The Psyche of a Toxic Employee

Frequently seen toxic behaviors

Utilize 'star status' & technical expertise to intimidate & manipulate

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

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

Effective Approaches for Addressing & Preventing Toxicity

Organization-wide strategies:

Making positive interpersonal behavior an 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 plays to clarify the application of the behavioral descriptions & standard

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


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

Who Will Benefit

Anyone with Managerial or Leadership Responsibility

Speaker Profile

Pete Tosh is Founder of The Focus Group, a management consulting and training firm that assists organizations in sustaining profitable growth through four core disciplines