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Why toxic people kill company culture

Why toxic people kill company culture

Unfortunately, most entrepreneurs have experienced a toxic employee. They are the one's whose glass is half empty. They constantly complain, nitpick, bitch, gossip and in general have an underlying mean spirit.

Fortunately for Marketing Eye, we haven't had any of those in the past year or so, but prior to that, we had a number of them that were all employed at different times. They charm their way in a job interview, look for your approval constantly, then the day you don't do what they want you to do, all hell breaks loose. They start working on their colleagues.

Their lunch breaks become bitch breaks. They are conniving and manipulative. They plant seeds in other employees ears. At first, the more sane employee tries to change the subject, but eventually, this highly skilled manipulator finds a gap and then works overtime to create havoc. 

They work on one person, then another. If someone isn't working to their plan, they try pitting each person against each other, and going as far as to report complaints on the person that is not playing their game.

They are toxic. They are negative. And they quitely simply have to go.

Show them the door

A friend is having this problem in their workplace, and they asked me what to do. I replied, "show them the door". It really is only going to get worse and you won't lose one person, but someone else who is actually been sucked into the negative vacuum who may be valuable to the organisation. People miss people when they leave, but within a week, they will forget that they actually existed - I promise.

They remain toxic even after they have left

The worse thing about toxic people is that they remain toxic even after they have left. I have learned over the years to not employ people who bag their previous employers in a job interview or are negative in any way during the process. Remember, this is the courting phase and if they can't behave then, imagine what is yet to come.

Toxic people will waste time and energy writing bad things that they have condured up in their minds on social media and any platform that they think that they will be heard. The funny thing is that anyone with half a brain sees this as a reflection on that person and that is why any intelligent person ignores reviews and social media slander. On top of that, these people are who human resource officers know not to employ or interview. After a quick search on social media it is easy to see who is toxic and who is not.

Can you manage the person and change their behaviours?

In truth, this is very hard to do. It takes an emotionally mature person to do this. If you remember that everyone has a choice to work for the company they work for particularly in the Western world, it says more about them if they complain than it does about the company.

Having said all of that, I have changed a toxic person into being "nice". It took a lot of hard work and determination, but I realised that this person had "school girl behaviours" and needed to mature. By working with them and having outside people work on the value of positivity, they became one of our best employees.

Company culture is paramount to any successful company. As a company Marketing Eye has become smarter in everything we do, but mostly we hire better. We hire people who are self starters and have a dream. They are already leaders in the making and they are passionate about marketing and company culture. 

We constantly celebrate

We constantly celebrate with french champagne, cupcakes, cook-outs, and pizza. I do the rounds each day making sure that everyone is happy and checking on whether I can help anyone with anything they are working on. This is very valuable to understanding what pressures a staff member may be going through due to lack of expertise or tight deadlines. They love it. I love it. Throw the toxic person out of the equation and what you have is a team of people who share the same vision and will never ever say a bad word about your company, even after they exit.

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comments ( 2 )
  • Mirco
    26 Jun 2015

    Toxic behaviour is a contagious and deadly disease for a company's culture. I agree with Melissa, there is only two ways out; trying to solve the issue by going to the root of the person's discomfort, or thanking them and parting ways.

  • Christie
    23 Jun 2015

    That's true! Keeping your employee happy is really important.