The 7 Types Of Toxic Employee.

As experienced professional consultants, I’d like to think that we have developed a certain radar for identifying potential troublemakers. The cohesiveness of any team is certainly dependant on the proficiency of the leadership. Having said that, there are some character types that are easier to manage than others.

It is a reality of managing people that you will in all likelihood have to deal with all of these toxic types from time to time. The behaviours may not manifest themselves all the time, but the moment they crop up, every leader should have a suitable response. If others see that these behaviours are acceptable, chaos can quickly ensue.

So in our opinion, here’s a brief overview of seven types of the most common toxic employee: The Volcano. People learn to tread carefully around these explosive personalities. The moment that something is not in line with their thinking, they explode, expecting a swift correction after their outburst. They are unable to control their emotions, and, left unchecked, their disruptive interruptions can reverberate around the whole business.

The Narcissist. They are so interested in themselves that they cannot see beyond their own brilliance. Anything that doesn’t fit with their agenda is dismissed, and they view any business issue exclusively from their own perspective. They will quickly get the cold shoulder from the rest of the team, which merely serves to intensify their glorious isolation yet further.

The Ghost. You seek them here, you seek them there…. but they are nowhere to be found. The moment there is work to be delegated, or someone asks for volunteers, the Ghost floats away quietly. They do the minimum amount of work to remain in employment and you can be sure that the will not be in the office a minute after the official leaving time.

The Slacker. The Slacker doesn’t hide like the Ghost, but they simply don’t do their work to the standard that is required. They cut corners, they create extra work for others and they hide their mistakes under the carpet. When someone says that they will do something, you want to believe that it will be done. With a Slacker, there is a high chance that it won’t get done, and you never know to what extent they will avoid their responsibilities.

The Victim. “Why is it always me? I’m always getting picked on. Yes, go on, blame me, that will make a change.” The Victim’s sense of persecution borders on paranoia, but with them exaggerating the slightest bit of constructive criticism, everyone in the office will be walking on eggshells around them. If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen – everyone makes mistakes and sometimes you have to take blame squarely on the chin – learn to deal with it.

The Simpleton. They. Have. Not. Got. A. Clue. Maybe calling these individuals toxic is a little unfair. They sadly haven’t got too much between the ears and everything that they do somehow conspires to go wrong. Even so, they are somehow unaware of their lack of intelligence and continue to cause havoc wherever they go. They sadly don’t last too long.

The Know-It-All. Some would say I’ve left the worst until last. The Know-It-All is the extreme kind of narcissist. They insist on the veracity of their opinion, and dismiss any other thoughts out of hand. If they are in any sort of position of influence, this can cause untold damage to the direction of the organisation and mute the truly useful contributions of those around them.

So how toxic is your environment? Understanding the level of toxicity in your organisation will be the key to your long-term sustainability.