Handling a Toxic Person in Your Team

Running a successful business requires a coherent team of dedicated individuals working together toward improvement and growth. However, sometimes a toxic person can enter the workplace and spread negativity, decreasing morale and hindering the group’s efforts and performance.  It is crucial to identify these toxic individuals as early as possible to prevent them from affecting the overall output of the team.

In this article, we will explore the characteristics of toxic people and how to spot them in your workplace. 

  • Lack of Accountability

Toxic individuals are often irresponsible and unwilling to take ownership of their actions and mistakes. Instead, they blame others and make excuses for their behavior.  They always have a plausible reason for not meeting objectives or completing tasks, usually involving someone else, circumstances, clients, or the market. They lack the ability to see their role as part of the team dynamics, focusing on themselves rather than the overall goal. Toxic individuals are also often technically skilled and great at what they do.

  • Negative Attitude and Energy

Toxic individuals often radiate negative energy, their attitude characterized by complaining, criticizing, and spreading negativity. They often talk behind their co-workers’ backs and engage in gossip, creating a tense and unpleasant work environment. They think of themselves as better than others and look for flaws to criticize their peers, even on unrelated performance issues such as the way they dress, the way they talk, or their behavior. They may also put down ideas or belittle the contributions of others, showing little interest in working collaboratively.

  • Resistance to Change

Toxic individuals often resist change and may become hostile toward new ideas or approaches. They believe they know better than others and will find reasons to dismiss new improvements in the business. They may argue and put down any new proposal that is not theirs and resist constructive feedback, making it difficult for them to grow and improve their skills.  Even when new ideas come from the team leader, they may be passive and uncooperative, and at times damaging.

  • Unprofessional Behavior

Toxic individuals also often display unprofessional behavior, such as showing up late for meetings, failing to complete tasks on time (with convincing excuses), and making inappropriate comments or jokes. They often use manipulative tactics to get their way, such as playing on the emotions of others, spreading rumors, or creating divisions within the team.

If you want to quickly identify toxic individuals in your team, look for those you feel the need to prepare for before discussing changes or improvements in the business. They are the ones who require effort, time, and energy to communicate with. 

It is crucial to identify toxic individuals in the workplace and address the situation before it becomes a bigger problem. Business leaders should be vigilant and observant, looking out for the warning signs of toxic behavior. If you suspect that someone on your team is toxic, it is important to address the issue professionally and objectively, providing them with an opportunity to improve their behavior or, if necessary, terminating their employment. By taking proactive measures to address toxic individuals, you can create a healthy and productive work environment that supports the success and growth of your business.