6 Toxic Employees You Need to Coach Up or Fire

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When it comes to managing toxic employees, you need to know two things: when to coach them and when to fire them. Toxic employees can do a lot of damage to your team when not dealt with properly. Coaching them is the first step, but you’ll need to start the termination process if that doesn’t work. Terminating a toxic employee is never easy, but it’s necessary for the health of your team and company. This article will cover the six types of toxic employees to coach up or fire so your team can thrive!

What is toxic behavior in an employee?

Toxic employees exhibit behaviors that harm the team or organization. These employees are destructive and cause a great deal of harm. Their negative behavior can include verbal abuse, bullying, spreading rumors, and sabotaging projects.

Why do managers avoid coaching or firing a toxic employee?

Managers may allow toxic employees to stay on their team for several reasons. The most common reason is the manager may not know how to identify and address toxic behavior. In some cases, the manager may be fearful of confrontation or dealing with difficult employees. The manager may also feel like they don’t have the time or resources to deal with the issue. Finally, the manager may not want to rock the boat and disturb the status quo.


Why do managers need to address toxic employees?

Ultimately, allowing a toxic employee to go unaddressed has negative consequences for the team. Toxic employees harm team morale and performance. They can also damage the company’s reputation and make it difficult to attract new talent. Coaching toxic behavior is often challenging, but it’s important for the health of the team and the company. Above all, managers must know when the coaching isn’t working, and they must fire the toxic employee.

The six types of toxic employees to coach or fire

Managers need to coach or fire these six toxic employees. These employees can cause a lot of harm to the team and need to be managed properly.

Employees who bully

Bullies use their power or position to intimidate others. They are verbally abusive and often make others feel uncomfortable.

Bullies are toxic employees to coach or fire.

When coaching an employee who is a bully, it is important to understand their motivation. Most bullies are motivated by power and control. They enjoy having power over others and derive satisfaction from bullying others. To successfully coach a bully employee, you need to find a way to take away their power. You can do this by setting boundaries and holding them accountable. You also need to provide positive reinforcement when they demonstrate positive behavior.

To fire a toxic employee who is a bully, you will need to have evidence of their bullying behavior. Witness statements, emails, or recordings are examples of evidence to collect on a bully. Once you have this evidence, you will need to schedule a meeting with the employee and present it to them. You will inform them that their behavior is unacceptable and you are terminating them for cause at this meeting. If the employee disputes the evidence, you can refer them to your company’s HR department.

Employees who engage in negative gossip

Gossips spread rumors and often create a negative atmosphere in the workplace. They can also be disruptive and damaging to relationships.

Coach or fire employees who gossip.

If you have an employee who gossips, the first step is to coach them on the negative effects of their behavior. Gossiping can hurt relationships in the workplace, disrupt productivity, and damage your company’s reputation. It’s important to stress to your employee that they can avoid these negative consequences by stopping their gossiping behavior.

If coaching fails to stop an employee from gossiping, you must fire them. Gossiping can hurt relationships in the workplace, disrupt productivity, and damage your company’s reputation. It’s important to stress to your employee that they can avoid these negative consequences by stopping their gossiping behavior. However, if the employee continues their toxic behavior after coaching, it’s time to fire them.

Employees who are a saboteur

Saboteurs deliberately try to ruin projects or make things difficult for others. They often have a negative attitude and are not team players.

 Saboteurs are toxic employees to coach or fire.

The saboteur is perhaps the most difficult to deal with when it comes to toxic employees. They often do not have an easily identifiable negative attitude like bullies or narcissists. Instead, they may seem like ordinary, contributing members of the team until they start sabotaging projects or making things difficult for others.

If you have a saboteur on your team, it’s essential to address the issue as soon as possible. Coaching may be effective in getting them to stop this toxic behavior, but if it doesn’t work, you may need to fire them. Saboteurs can damage team morale and productivity, so it’s best to nip the problem in the bud.

The slacker employee

Slackers do not pull their weight and do not contribute to the team. They can often be a drain on resources and productivity.

Slackers are toxic employees to coach or fire.

When it comes to coaching a slacker employee, it is crucial to set clear expectations. Ensure they understand the expectations and the consequences if they do not meet those expectations. It is also essential to be specific about what you want them to do. For example, rather than saying “try harder,” ask them to come in early one day a week or stay an extra hour after work one day a week. This will give them a specific goal to work towards.

When coaching fails to motivate this toxic employee, it may be time to fire them. Firing a slacker employee sends a message to the rest of the team that you will not tolerate poor performance. It can also be a relief to the other employees, who may feel demoralized when working with someone who is not pulling their weight.

Employees who constantly complain

Complainers are never happy, no matter what you do for them. They constantly find fault with everything and everyone and are a general nuisance in the workplace.

Constant complainers are toxic employees to coach or fire.

If you have a complainer on your team, it’s important to coach them up. So, try to identify the root of their complaints and see if there’s anything you can do to address them. Complainers often want to feel heard, so make sure you’re taking the time to hear them out.

If coaching doesn’t help the employee stop this toxic behavior, it may be time to fire them. A toxic employee who constantly complains significantly drags down team morale and productivity. It’s best to fire them before they cause any more damage.

Narcissistic Employees Are Toxic

There is no question that narcissistic employees can be toxic to a team. They often have an inflated sense of self-importance and entitlement, which leads to disruptive and destructive behaviors. In addition, narcissistic employees are often confrontational and aggressive, and they regularly put their own interests above those of the team. As a result, they can be challenging to work with, and they hurt employee morale and productivity.

Narcissists are toxic employees to coach or fire.

Coaching narcissistic employees is often a waste of time. They will rarely take advice or learn from their mistakes. Instead, they will continue to act disruptive and damaging to team morale. In some cases, narcissists can even be dangerous to the company’s reputation or bottom line. If it becomes clear that coaching isn’t working, it’s best to fire this toxic employee immediately.

How to help your team recover after a toxic employee

The aftermath of a toxic employee can be difficult for a team. It’s critical to help your team recover by providing support and resources. Here are a few things you can do to help your team heal:

  1. Encourage them to talk about the experience. It can be helpful for team members to talk about their experiences with the toxic employee. This can help them process what happened and learn from it.
  2. Offer counseling or therapy. If team members feel they need additional support, offer them counseling or therapy. This can help them work through their feelings and move on.
  3. Help them rebuild trust. A toxic employee can damage trust within the team. Help your team rebuild trust by being honest and open with them.

Managers need to be able to identify toxic employees and address their behavior before it becomes too damaging. All employees deserve a chance to improve, but termination is the next step if coaching doesn’t work.

Keep in mind that there are consequences to firing a toxic employee – legal, financial, and emotional. Make sure you weigh all your options before deciding to fire someone. It can be helpful to have a plan to help your team recover from the aftermath of a toxic employee.


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Jason Cortel is currently the Director of Global Workforce Management for a leading technology company. He has been in customer service, marketing, and sales services for over 20 years. In addition, he has extensive experience in offshore and nearshore outsourcing. Jason is an avid Star Trek fan and is on a mission to change the universe by helping people develop professionally. He is driven to help managers and leaders lead their teams better. Jason is also a veteran in creating talent and office cultures.

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