Have you ever stopped to consider how toxic employees become toxic? Consider the fact that most toxic employees do not start out as toxic when you hire them. This means that something happened to them inside your company. My experience is that most of the time, it is something that you did. Studies of disengaged and toxic employees confirm this.

  1. Define Clear Roles — Employees need to know what their job is and when they are being successful. Surprisingly, many employers struggle with this idea. They hire people to help out and then constantly judge their performance without clearly setting expectations. This is incredibly frustrating to employees.
  2. Work within Strengths — Do not ask an employee to regularly do something that they are not good at doing. You should consider the natural strengths of every person you hire and make sure that those strengths align with their job.
  3. Give Feedback — People need to know how they are doing within their job. I am not talking about traditional performance evaluations which have evolved into painful one-way judgements tied to pay increases. I am talking about regular, two-way check-ins between a supervisor and employee on how both parties can help each other.
  4. Be Trustworthy — Employees need to believe in their employers in order to be all in. Do not break the trust between yourself and an employee. Be honest. Practice the character you want to see in your employees.
  5. Train your Managers — Most managers are initially promoted because they are good at their jobs. These managers receive little or no training on how to lead and motivate people. This has dire effects as managers make mistakes in the difficult task of managing people.

So instead of dealing with one toxic employee after another, try going to the source.

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