10 Ways to Spot Toxic Employees

10 ways to spot toxic employees:

  1. Team members are afraid of toxic employees.
  2. Ask a toxic person what they’re getting done and they’ll tell you what they plan to get done.
  3. Conversations have winners and losers.
  4. Listening is their tool to learn weaknesses, find fault, and gain advantage.
  5. Toxic employees allow you to fail so they look good. As long as they look good, everything is fine. When failure comes knocking, they make excuses for themselves and blame others.
  6. Toxic employees don’t:
    • Acknowledge failure.
    • Extend forgiveness.
    • Offer an apology.
  7. Managers, leaders, and fellow employees are idiots. Toxic employees are always right. They carry the ‘burden’ of knowing what everyone else should do.
  8. Toxic employees always have solutions/answers for everything and everyone but share it in a way to make them look good and you look stupid.
  9. The only people who aren’t idiots are the people who:
    • Admire them.
    • Agree with them.
    • Acquiesce to their desires.
    • Advance their personal agenda.
  10. Toxic employees throw you under the bus and make it look like they’re helping.

7 ways to deal with toxic employees:

  1. Give them what they want and utilize their talent.
  2. Isolate them. Give them assignments that remove them from interacting with others.
  3. Terminate them.
  4. Keep them close. This is a viable option in highly political environments. But it propagates toxicity.
  5. Rigorously monitor their results. But realize they may be productive. The toughest toxic person to deal with is the one who delivers great results.
  6. Define success with teamwork in mind.
  7. Don’t hire them. (This doesn’t solve the problem of inheriting toxicity.) During the interview process, ask,
    • What are you learning?
    • What else are you learning?
    • What will you do differently in this position compared to your last job?
    • What are you learning about yourself?
    • Who has helped you succeed? How?
    • Who have you helped succeed? How?

What do toxic employees look like?

What suggestions do you have for dealing with toxic employees?