small business bad employee

As your business grows and you employ more staff it is crucial to be aware of any toxic personalities that might have slipped under your radar and are poisoning coworkers’ productivity, performance, and morale. Read on to find our list of 7 toxic personalities, and what you can do to either give them their walking papers or find a way to rehabilitate them.

1 – The Train Wreck, Otherwise Known As The Hot Mess

This employee’s personal life is a disaster. They’re disorganized, unreliable, and erratic, and they can bring down the energy and productivity of the whole team. Worse yet, they exhibit something called “learned helplessness” and know that co-workers who care will jump in and correct their mistakes so that projects can move forward. What’s the fix on this one?

Meet personally with this person, with the stated intention of writing up some personal development goals. Provide initial support. Check in on their performance frequently. If they show no attempt to change their ways, then it’s the highway for this employee.

2 – The Gossip

This employee is bright, sometimes funny, and can be the life of the party. It’s hard not to get drawn into their office drama. Worst of all, this employee stirs up animosities and can be distracting, loud, and totally unprofessional. This person must be brought in for a talk as soon as possible. The business owner can use redirection – “The only time you can chat is outside during your 15 minute break”.

Tell them that you will be watching them closely, in an effort to improve employee morale, and that their coworkers have been instructed to report if they gossip inappropriately. They will be notified by email for their first and second transgression. The third time they’re out.

3 – The Slacker

This person seems great at first – enthusiastic and ready to work. Then reality sets in. They call in sick frequently, they have little or no regard for deadlines, and they are spotted wasting hours online on Facebook, or playing games on their phone. If their mindset could be changed, there’s a chance they could evolve into a good employee.

Discuss your expectations with them, and tell them in no uncertain terms that you will demand accountability from them. Then visit at unexpected times. If they do shape up, recognize their effort and reward them. Otherwise, “Goodbye slacker – and don’t forget your Iphone!”

4 – The Rabble Rouser

This employee is negative from the get-go. They annoy or rile up other workers, but frequently knows the rules so well that they don’t do enough to get fired. One trick is to isolate this employee.

Move their desk away from the others, reassign them to solitary projects, encourage them to do some work at home. This employee thrives on communicating with others and might turn around if they feel isolated.

5 – The Narcissist

The Narcissist is usually very intelligent and a high achiever, but they do not cooperate or play well with others. Only they can do this particular job. They are rude to others frequently.

If you’re unable to isolate this person, then there’s not much you can do with them. They won’t change, they were born that way. There’s no alternative except to let them go.

6 – The Grump

This employee might have started out pleasant enough, but life situations and setbacks have turned on their irascible button. Now all they do is complain – It’s too hot, it’s too cold, the parking lot has giant potholes, the maintenance staff leave the place a mess, the bathrooms are filthy, the coffee is putrid, their coworkers are lazy, etc.

Have one conversation with them to see if there’s an underlying problem that can be rectified. If there isn’t, let them go.

7 – The Procrastinator

The Procrastinator may well be a perfectionist, but it can be carried too far. They miss deadlines or the work that they’re doing is sub-par. The good part is this person usually cares about their job.

Meet with them, discuss the problem, and insist on deadlines that they must meet. A procrastinator can get the lead out if approached the right way. Don’t be afraid to offer a small bonus or reward if they accomplish a task well and on time.

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