Toxic Yet Very Successful? I. Can’t. Even.

Work culture is the crystal jewel of every workplace. The work culture of every company determines what types of values, principles, and standards are prioritized; and how you, the valuable member, can add and contribute to the company. When many people gather together on one table, numerous ideas generate on that one table alone. These ideas can accumulate a significant number of revenues or even lead to the success and expansion of the company. Sounds like a great basket of apples, right? Even the shiniest, most crisp apple can be very, very…. sour.

Now, I’m not talking about the problematic employee; I’m talking about the toxic one. Yes, the same person who has too much positivity and super pushy that it’s harmful. It’s kind of like having too much sun exposure but without the sunscreen. So, now that the image is burned into your mind, let me explain what is so special about this character. What’s very interesting about this character is that they will perform amazingly well and present all of the company’s excellent standards, but that’s only on the outside.


What’s awful about this character is that they cause harm and spread that abhorrent behavior to others. There will be a chain, almost like a domino effect, of de-energizing, frustrating, and low-key putting down other coworkers. The initial issue with this type of character is that they are filled with brilliance to the brim, but they would be a hot mess with other coworkers. When you start asking your people about that particular person, and they reply saying, “Well, that’s just who they are, and we expect that type of behavior from them.” Then you have a huge problem. AWFUL, I say, spell it with me! A-W-F-U-L!!!

So, the tricky question here is, do I protect and defend this challenging character as a critical, crucial asset and source of competitive advantage, or do I eliminate the toxicity that drains my company culture? The answer is simple: attack, control, engage, and eliminate. Do not attack your employee; just put it out there and make it very clear for your audience, haha.

Attack: Open an honest and candor discussion on the destructive behavior and prepare concise, concrete feedback to eliminate any confusion from the genius’s side. Control: Give that person a plan on what will be tolerated and what won’t be, and what are the next steps on improving, and what the consequences are if no changes have been made. Engage: Your plan needs to be SMART, executed quickly and efficiently: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based. Eliminate: If after time, energy, and capital have been invested within this extensive coaching program, cut the rope, and shift your focus to other team members who need this support to improve.

Why? Because in the bigger picture, your team and individual trust and energy are constantly on the line. Those elements are essential for company development and personal success. The best approach is to play on both sides and follow a quick, highly engaging process to meet a solution.

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