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How to Deal with These 5 Types of Toxic Employees

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toxic employees

Summary: Learn how to cope with the five worst types of employees you could possibly have working in your office.

Chances are your workplace has at least one, if not all, of these kinds of difficult and disruptive employees. In order to know how to deal with them, you have to know what category they fit into and why they may act the way they do.

  1. The Hot Mess:

These employees are incompetent, erratic, and unreliable as well as have the ability to suck the energy and productivity out of a group. They may not know how to do their job or have the ability to, bringing everybody down with them. Their worst traits are passivity, resistance to change, lack of credibility, disorganization, and a learned helplessness.

How to deal:

– Offer additional training

– Give support

– Create improvement plans

– Encourage screening for ADD and related issues

– Build awareness with frequent check-ins

  1. The Slacker:

This employee finds ways to avoid work while at work as if it is their full-time job. They also are a big drain on everyone’s time, enthusiasm and energy. They are more than willing to let others pick up the slack and have little concern over what others think of them. Their main concern is getting away with all that they can. Their worst traits are absenteeism, bad timekeeping, wasting time online, low motivation, and lack of regard for deadlines.

How to deal:

– Uncover any hidden resentments

– Require accountability

– Recognize efforts with awards

– Give clear expectations

– Allow unscheduled reviews and visits

  1. The Martyr:

Their worst traits are not understanding their limits, being prone to burnout, undermining the confidence of team members, complaining often, having a nonconstructive attitude, coming to work sick and spreading the sickness to everyone. They are the opposite of the slacker. They may seem like the type of employee you want to have but insisting on doing all the work themselves creates another set of problems. They may have an issue with letting go of control or are trying too hard to impress others but their hard work creates an imbalance to the team, puts them at high risk of burnout, and fostering unrest in the ranks.

How to deal:

– Require delegation

– Encourage taking paid time off

– Teaching stress management techniques

– Building a collaborative over competitive workplace

– Recognizing teamwork and not individual efforts

  1. The Socialite:

This employee can be good to have because they are funny, entertaining, and everyone’s best friend. Their time is spent treating everyday as if it is a party by talking on the phone, around the watercooler, or through the office. Their worst traits are a lack of focus, being loud and distracting, having an immature approach to work, being fans of office drama, and producing an unprofessional affect onto others.

How to deal:

– Give frequent redirection

– Channel interpersonal energy

– Use their communication skills

– Clearly define appropriate behavior

– Set social times and activities for employees

  1. The Sociopath:

Surprisingly, 4 percent of the world’s population is believed to match the clinical definition of a sociopath. In the workplace they poison the atmosphere, creating a hostile environment and it only takes one employee for this to happen. Morale, cohesion, and effectiveness of a team are important to have to keep the office running smoothly so when this is disrupted, it will cause serious damage to your bottom line and reputation as a company. Their worst traits are issues with authority, interpersonal problems, manipulation and sabotage, disregard for protocol, and bullying.

How to deal:

– Trust your instincts

– Take employee complaints seriously

– Carefully document negative behaviors

– Foster a safe and supportive environment

– Give strict antibullying guidelines


To learn more read:

How to Work with 7 Types of Managers

Teach Employees “Why” and not just How”

13 Personality Types in Your Office


How to Deal with These 5 Types of Toxic Employees by
Authored by: Amanda Griffin