How Toxic is Your Team?

Every office has at least one toxic employee. The guy who bad-mouths co-workers behind their backs. The boss who takes credit for everyone else’s ideas. The “Debbie Downer” who’s taken complaining to an art form. These employees are harmful to the company culture and they are extremely costly to the bottom line. And they are lethal to a productive team.

There are four behaviors that are so detrimental that they are considered toxic to productive working relationships:

  • Blame: Attacking another person instead of focusing on a behavior.
  • Defensiveness: Refusing to own your part of the problem.
  • Contempt: A step up from blaming. Includes sarcasm, belittling, cynicism, name calling, hostile humor.
  • Stonewalling: Cutting off communication, silent treatment, refusal to engage, withdrawal.

But what employees really need to know is how to deal with the toxic employees so that they do not effect team morale or productivity. Here are a few tips for how to shut the bad behavior down and send a clear message that it is not tolerated on your team:

  1. Collaboratively set clear expectations with your team on how to work together.
  2. Let your team define and agree on what respect and professional working environment looks like.
  3. Identify how team members will hold each other accountable for creating a respectful environment.
  4. As a team, discuss and practice what would be an appropriate way to bring up an issue.
  5. If a team member continually ignores the established team agreement, you now have a performance problem to address. Deal with it quickly in order to send a clear message to the rest of team that disrespectful behavior is not acceptable.
  6. Remember that when you see toxic behavior and don’t speak up, silence signals acceptance.

At Powers Resource Center we know how quickly a toxic team member can derail team results and morale and we have programs designed to help turn this behavior around and rebuild team trust. Connect with us today to discuss opportunities to get rid of the toxic behavior and build a team you can be proud of.

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