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The Toxic Employee

Posted by Yvette Allen on 6 September 2016
The Toxic Employee

What makes me qualified to speak about toxic employees?

Working in the medical field for approximately 35 years.  Prior to this I started my career working with my first husband who was a civil engineer.  We started a business with one JCB excavator and after 10 years when I left the company it was the largest civil engineering company in the UK.  This was a huge learning program for me!

I started a further business in the UK in Hair Replacement, this involved working with plastic surgeons.

When I came to Sydney, I started my working medical career working as a part time receptionist in a 24 hour medical centre, one of the first.  Within 12 months I was managing 17 medical centres.  From there I moved to working with specialists, this was very different from working with GPs however, I found it to be very enjoyable and it presented so many challenges, as people's expectations were beginning to change, and over the years there has been vast changes in what people not only expect, but sometimes demand from a Specialist Practice. 

The start of my business was working as a Relief Practice Manager, taking over from Practice Managers when they were sick or on holiday.  During this time I worked for numerous different types of specialist doctors and clinics.  Many of you, will know me, either personally or by name and reputation.

My next step was to be formally trained, and I started my education by a Diploma of Practice Management, Followed by a Cert IV in Training and Workplace Management, and then onto many various courses on dealing with difficult people, training small groups, just to name a couple.

My interest in how people thought and received messages escalated and I became interested in Neuro Linguinstic Programming, which is the all about how people communication, build rapport and learn, receive information; and how to get the best result from people. 

This lead to my becoming a Counsellor, A trainer and Advanced Practitioner in NLP,  Time Line Therapist, Hypnosis and A Trainer and Master Coach for Businesses, and in peoples personal lives
I have since become a Clinical Hypnotherapist, An Advanced Clinical Resource Therapist and Trainer of Resource Therapy and a Demartini Facilitator.

OK that is enough about me.  The subject I have chosen to write about today is one that affects a large number of businesses, some of you will no doubt recognise the following as someone you know.

So what are the different types of Toxic Employees and how can they affect your business.

I wonder how many people have suddenly found that their practice sick leave has increased, or perhaps you have a high turnover of employees, or you are losing your best employees.  The morale in the practice has dropped.  Your patients are beginning to complain that the staff were rude or curt with them.  Or perhaps you are finding that the workplace is feeling strained and all the staff seem to be stressed, and indeed perhaps you too are feeling the atmosphere and are becoming stressed or aware of a change. 

Perhaps your referrals are going down, or the type of patients you are being referred are different.  If you have answered yes to any of these questions, there is a strong likelihood that you have a toxic employee within the mix.

Toxic employees can cause serious damage to your business.  They are like a virus that spreads disharmony and counterproductive attitudes or actions to other employees.

"According to a survey conducted by Christine Pearson and Christine Porath, authors of The Cost of Bad Behaviour: How Incivility is Damaging Your Business and What to Do About it, 53% of those polled lost work time worrying about the incident and future interactions with the offender. Meanwhile, 46% had considered switching jobs to get away from the offender and 37% reported a weakened sense of commitment to the organisation".

More than often employees are made toxic by external factors such as poor management or badly planned work, which gives rise to conflict and resentment.

They are not above workplace games, politicking and encouraging negative alliances.

So let us look at the different styles the toxic employee can present as, and see if you can recognise any of them:

 

dealing with toxic employees-yvette allenThe Chameleon

In the animal kingdom as you are well aware, these creatures change colour in order to escape notice.  In the business world they cannot change colour, so they find other ways to escape notice to avoid work, whilst taking credit for others work within the office. 

Typically the Chameleon will volunteer for, or get assigned to multiple teams and working groups, in this way they can appear to be doing a great job, in claiming to be "So Busy" that they often have to work late, or take work home, and let all the office and patients know just how busy they are.  They like to be involved in several groups so they can use that fact to justify not having taken action because they have been so busy, with such a huge workload that they have in other areas, and how everybody seems to come to them for advice about how to do things, and you might believe they seem the only one that knows everything about your practice.

 

 

dealing with toxic employees-yvette allenThe Archetypal

They are rarely a team player. They often blame others for their mistakes and disclaims accountability. They might even demonstrate discontent by either doing what is minimally necessary for satisfactory work or pretend to work.
An especially ambitious one is prepared to do whatever it takes to ascend to the top. They would most likely align themselves with those they have identified as important or vital usually someone of superior organisational status or someone who is able to do them favours. They might even sabotage others by backstabbing, badmouthing or withholding information.

 

 

 

 

 

dealing with toxic employees-yvette allenThe Vampire

In books they appear to be human, but thrive on the blood of others.  In the workplace they will thrive on the emotions of others.

In big meetings, workplace Vampires are always "helpful."

They help people understand what could go wrong. They help people see that disaster is inevitable. They help so much that everybody leaves the room feeling drained.

I have witnessed this only on a few occasions, however, in the workplace I find these people to always appear helpful.

In my opinion they are the most difficult to recognise as being toxic.  Without doubt they are extremely clever in creating disharmony within the staff.  Everyone seems to like them, and it is not often that the staff realise what is happening, as it is done with such cunning.

Vampires are equally "helpful" when meeting one-on-one. They get friendly with multiple co-workers and then turn them all against each other. Vampires are always ready to hear complaints, especially those that will foment more conflict.

A Vampire will create major discord without anybody being fully aware that the Vampire is responsible. The Vampire so cleverly foists negativity into the situation that everyone assumes that the negative feelings are genuinely their own.

The difficulty with firing a Vampire is that usually he or she is quite popular, since almost everybody in the organization thinks of the Vampire as a friend and ally. Nevertheless, this is one type of toxic employee for whom the only cure is to get rid of them as fast as possible.

 

dealing with toxic employees-yvette allenThe Untouchable

Another toxic employee when someone has made himself or herself "invaluable", or closely aligned with a powerful person within the company, and is using that position to bully others or get preferential treatment, the situation can be damaging to your business.  There have been situations reported, where the company owner has relinquished so much control to an assistant or subordinate that he or she is afraid to let that person go.

 

 

 

 

 

dealing with toxic employees-yvette allenThe Pot-Stirrer

This is the person who pits office mate against office mate using gossip, rumour and innuendo. The Pot-Stirrer can usually be found at the centre of any office drama, possibly with popcorn in hand. And while the arguments may seem like petty nonsense, this person is causing repeated disruptions in the workplace and costing you productivity and employee engagement.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

dealing with toxic employees-yvette allenThe Renegade

Despite training and repeated correction, this person just doesn't follow rules and puts your company at risk. Whether it's not wearing a helmet on construction sites to "winging it" in customer service matters and making decisions that he or she is not authorized to make, Renegades are determined to do things their way.

The fallout could range from lost customers to safety hazards. And, worse, when other employees see that not everyone has to follow the rules, you may find yourself with more Renegades. Lay down the law or them free.

Effects of toxicity at the workplace Effects of toxicity at the workplace Managers should never underestimate the cost of a toxic employee.

His harmful behaviour fractures team morale and camaraderie, performance and productivity of other good employees. Working with someone who is uncooperative and disrespectful takes a lot out of people. And when you are understaffed or constantly under pressure, toxic employees become an added strain that would only burn everyone out quicker. Failure to deal with toxicity at the workplace is a sure way to chase away top performers as they would feel compelled to find a better work environment elsewhere.

 

 

A manager's credibility is also at stake especially if everyone can see what a problem a toxic employee is but nothing has been done about it. Others would be wondering if one negative employee is worth more than others who are suffering due to his behaviour. This shakes the trust and belief employees have in their leader who is supposed to help them to work to their best advantage. The manager would then have to deal with the low morale such inaction entails.

And low morale among employees would mean the quality of their work would be affected.

This would trickle down to the company's bottom line.

I believe, these employees can truly drain the practice productivity, and these are the most dangerous to your workplace, and the most difficult to spot.  They do not demand attention, and
So once you identify that you have a toxic employee what do you do?

Detox!!!  NOT SO EASY

The damaging effect a toxic employee has at the workplace dominates whatever technical or expertise they might have, or be perceived to have. Their disruptive behaviour is a menace and should be addressed as soon as it is recognised.  It is sometimes wise to seek advice on how to handle the situation from an expert, as they usually are aware of all of their rights, and can be very difficult to get rid of if you don't do it correctly.  Visit my website www.yvetteallen.com.au and press the Contact Us button and ask your question here.

I hope you have enjoyed reading this blog.  Keep following as there are many more to follow.

Yvette AllenAuthor: Yvette Allen
About: Yvette is registered with Resource Therapy International as a Clinical Resource Therapist and a certfied trainer She is also a qualified Counsellor, Clinical Hypnotherapist, and Master Practitioner and Trainer of Hypnosis, Neuro Lingusitic Programming (NLP) and Time Line Therapy®.

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