Podcast: Repeating Mistakes, Minimizing Damage From A Toxic Employee
A Mistake Repeated Is A Decision
Brazilian Novelist Paulo Coelho once said, “A mistake repeated more than once is a decision.” I was struck by this simple, yet profound, statement. It says a lot about our power to consciously choose our destiny.
We’re supposed to learn from our mistakes. But, if we knowingly repeat an error, we’ve made the decision to ignore the lesson. In spite of the evidence, we choose a path we know, or strongly suspect, will not serve us well. Or we close our hearts and minds to the negative signs, as we say to ourselves, “it really wasn’t that bad.”
We can only expand our growing edge if we honor the gifts our mistakes give us. At work, at school, at home and in relationships, these lessons help us choose better paths that lead to the satisfaction and prosperity we seek – paths that align with our true purpose and passion.
Learn how to align your actions with your purpose and passion. Order a copy of my book LIES That Limit: Uncover the Truth of Who You Really Are, available on my website, TMGSpeaks.com
Turning Around A Toxic Employee
A single toxic employee can infect others and therefore must be dealt with fairly and swiftly. According the Harvard Business Review, if you can avoid hiring toxic people, do so. But if he or she is already in your midst, try these suggestions for nipping bad behavior in the bud.
Dig deeper. Try to understand the root cause of their negativity. Are they unhappy in their job? Frustrated with co-workers? Struggling in their personal life? Once you know what lies beneath, coach the person or suggest resources that will help turn things around.
Give direct feedback that opens their eyes to the impact their behavior has on the team. The toxic employee may not be conscious of the way their actions or words affect others. If they have issues with peers, help them formulate a constructive way of discussing the matter to bring about desired change. If that fails, consider identifying something they value and put it at stake. That may be just the motivation they need to behave more civilly.
Minimizing Damage from An Incurably Toxic Employee
Amy Gallo writes in the Harvard Business Review that sometimes you have to concede that rude, toxic, or poorly performing team members aren’t going to change.
In such cases, you can: try feedback and coaching, offer mental health resources or indicate that increases and bonus will be denied. Beyond these options, you can minimize the person’s contact with the rest of the team by encouraging them to work from home more often, rearranging seating, re-assigning projects, scheduling fewer full staff meetings.
If you decide to let the person go, make sure you’ve documented all relevant performance issues, as well as your efforts to turn the situation around. Doing so is fair to the employee and will help protect your and your company from blowback. And, according to Georgetown Professor Christine Porath, the staff will recover quickly once the poisonous personality is removed.