5 Toxic Personalities Who Can Destroy Your Company
We have all heard of the boss from hell, think Miranda Priestly in The Devil Wears Prada, who is the quintessential master of terror. Her cold, callous attitude and outrageous demands leave her employees cowering in fear and riddled with anxiety. But how about the employee from hell? The person who has a negative impact on the company’s culture and productivity. Just one alone is akin to an insidious cancer that infects the rest of the company and causes talented people to jump ship. If you’re afraid that your business will be undermined by a toxic individual, here are five types of employees to watch out for.
The Negative Nancys and Downer Dans
Pressing deadlines, demanding clients and KPIs are all part of the package. When you have a team member who is incessantly pessimistic, it can be draining—not just for you but for others. Their negative outlook and excessive complaining (without ever offering any reasonable solutions) can crush everyone’s drive and motivation, resulting in low productivity and morale. The pessimist is also prone to rigid, narrow-minded thinking and cannot reach a compromise. Hence, it’s almost impossible for them to solve problems or make sound decisions. In the long run, having them around creates stress, unhappiness and unnecessary barriers within the company.
They know everyone’s secrets and can’t stop talking negatively about everyone. The Gossipmonger thrives on a culture of gossip and breeds a toxic environment where relationships are adversely impacted through rumour-making. According to Atlanta-based speaker and author Peter Vajda, workplace gossip is a form of workplace violence, and it is “essentially a form of attack.” It erodes trust and induces anxiety when employees are constantly having to differentiate fact from fiction. Furthermore, it creates divisiveness when people take sides.
Gossip wastes time and makes your staff inefficacious; it distracts them away from their tasks, affects the cohesiveness of the team and taints reputations. Over time, you risk losing good employees who quit because of an unhealthy work culture.
Whenever someone in the office is performing exceedingly well, the Gaslighter will tell them that they are “spoiling the market” and making the rest look bad. In essence, gaslighting is a type of psychological manipulation. It happens when a fellow employee makes you doubt your own perception, memories and version of events. The twisting of facts is a common occurrence, so you are always at fault.
The Gaslighter will belittle his or her colleagues by downplaying their emotions and efforts, and may even call his or her victims hypersensitive if they do call out his or her behaviour. It is also not surprising if a gaslighter deliberately leaves others out of important meetings to get them into trouble.
The Glory Hound
In this business world, many are familiar with this African Proverb: “If you want to go fast, go alone, if you want to go far, go together.” A good employee is one that works well in a team and shares the glory with his colleagues. They are not afraid to praise their peers, give credit where it’s due and acknowledge the contributions of others. If the person is in a managerial position, he will celebrate the achievements of his team members instead of fearing they will outshine him. The Glory Hound, however, steals all the credit for work others have done, thinks the world of themselves and constantly hogs the spotlight.
In a study conducted by executive coaching company Psychometrics Canada, it was discovered that 61 per cent of Canadian HR managers felt their leaders took too much credit when it was actually a team effort. And 83 per cent of those surveyed reported a great loss of motivation among employees. In short, the Glory Hog affects team morale and the bottom line.
The Responsibility Evader
This is the type of employee that tells you “it’s not my job” when you task them to do something. They reject teamwork and collaboration, are highly individualistic and care only about themselves. More telltale signs include being inflexible, unadaptable to new situations and unwillingness to take on extra roles that are not part of their job scope. Going beyond the call of duty or helping a colleague from another department is none of their concern. If this person is creating a bottleneck in workflow, where everyone has to pick up their slack, maybe it’s time to cut ties for good.