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The Key to Dealing With Toxic Employees is Finding The Root of The Problem

tammy hall april influencer
April 8, 2022 at 11:00 a.m.

RCS Influencer Tammy Hall says that understanding why a teammate is toxic and taking corrective action can yield positive outcomes for all. 

There is nothing worse than finding out that an employee you hired to fill a critical role turns out to be toxic. When I say toxic, I do not mean difficult I mean that they not only cause harm, but they also spread their negative behavior to others.  

I oversee our sales and service divisions and have had to deal with toxic employees in both.  At CFS our divisions work as teams and as such we count on each other for communication, completing tasks and having each other’s back. When someone is not moving in the same direction as the rest of us if shows up quick.  

My first reaction when I see or am made aware of poor behavior is to have a one-on-one conversation with the person to find out the why if possible.  Are they unhappy with their role or responsibilities, are they struggling in their personal life, in other words has something happened to create their behavior or is this their true nature?  

Our goal is to create a work environment that is not only productive but enjoyable.  Unfortunately, there are times when we spend more waking hours at the office with our workmates than at home with family.  Understanding that as a manager I work hard to cure negative issues sooner versus later.  

If I can understand what or why this team member is toxic, then my goal is to take corrective action to provide an environment in which this individual can be successful and turnaround the negative attitude.  There have been times when this has worked, and success is achieved.  And I have experienced when a turnaround is not achieved and this person revels in their ability to be disruptive and bring down people around them.  When this is the outcome after attempts to correct, I am left with termination as the only course of action.  

Documentation is critical whether you have success or not.  Maintaining a record of behavior both good and bad to review is helpful when determining promotion both in positions and raises.  Be sure your documentation includes an overview of conversations you have as well as write ups. 

Toxic people for the most part want attention or recognition.  Most of the time determining the root of the behavior can have a positive outcome, but when it can’t be prepared to do what is best for the team and remove them. 

Tammy Hall is the director of marketing and service division for CFS Roofing Services LLC. See her full bio here. 



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