Suffer from Toxic Employees? This is How the Best Managers Deal with Them

Seven key approaches to less drama at work. How managers need to approach toxic employees in the workplace.
Suffer from Toxic Employees? This is How the Best Managers Deal with Them
Molly Crockett

Unfortunately, every business will have to deal with toxic employees at some point or another. Whether it’s someone having a bad day, two employees not getting on and spreading problems & drama throughout the workforce, or you’ve hired a toxic person for the job, as a manager, it’s important to make sure you’re dealing with the situation in the right way.

There are plenty of approaches you can take to try and resolve the issues you’re facing. Still, it does depend on the individual situation and the circumstances of the person/people you’re dealing with. However, to get you started, today we’re going to focus on seven key approaches you can think about and what you need to do.

1. Document everything

The absolute first thing you should do, no matter what situation is taking place or what approach you’re going to take, is to ensure you’re documenting everything that’s happening. Write down the problems, the events that are unfolding, what’s being said, and when you and other managers are stepping in.

This way, you’ll have an account of everything that’s happened, and proof of what happened when, allowing you to easily see the bigger picture rather than only seeing what’s happening in front of you.

2. Talk to them face-to-face

“As soon as things start happening that you deem unacceptable, take that person to the side and talk to them about it. Address the problems and try to figure out the source and what’s going on. Some people may not realise they’re toxic, or some people may have out-of-work events that are distracting them,” shares Tina Farris, a project manager at Studydemic and Top Canadian Writers.

If this is the case, you may be able to deal with the issues easily and quickly, perhaps by allowing the person to relax and have less pressure until the problem has passed. If it takes longer, you may need to work as a team to encourage positive change.

3. Prepare for resistance

When people develop and act through a toxic mindset, it can be very difficult to make them admit that they’re acting in this way.

After all, how would you feel if you were being told you were toxic when you didn’t think you were? The chances are you’d get defensive about it.

With this in mind, prepare yourself for the fact you’ll probably have some kind of resistance to what you’re saying, and the person isn’t going to be a pushover. Prepare to stand your ground.

4. Be public with action

While it is best to take things to a private situation where there’s an environment with less pressure, if a situation is unfolding in front of you, it’s important to take action. There’s a common saying that if you’re not acting against something negative, then you’re condoning it, and this is very much the case in this situation.

If the team sees you condoning toxic behaviour, you’re setting the standard to what is acceptable, even if it’s not.

5. Addressing the Behaviour

It’s important to remember that when you’re addressing a toxic employee, you’re not attacking or pointing out flaws in that person’s character, you’re instead addressing problems with that person’s behaviour and the actions they’re taking.

Always make your points centre around the actions and behaviours, never who the individual is.

6. Be open to improvements

“Your first approach to a situation may not always be the best first time, and that’s okay; you’re only human. It’s important to remember that every situation is different and will need to be dealt with in a proper way, so open yourself to learning new skills and developing your mindset to garner the best results,” explains Bernard Taylor, a business writer at Best Australian Writers and Student Writing Services.

7. Cut ties and move forward

Sometimes, people just aren’t willing to try and fit in or to make a positive change and, at the end of the day, you can’t change a human being; they need to be proactive in changing themselves. With this in mind, if the toxic employee isn’t cooperating, there’ll be a point where you’ll have to let them go.

The rest of your business doesn’t need to suffer because of one person or a specific situation, and the best approach could be to cut off the infection, allowing the healing to begin.


While every situation is different and will need to be approached in a unique way, take these tips and methods onboard to get the best results you can. Your business doesn’t need toxic employees, so be mindful and proactive in moving your business forward and not getting caught up with situations that will hold you back.

About the author

Molly Crockett is a business and HR blogger for Writemyaustralia and Australianreviewer, where she writes advice for how businesses can address complex situations and make the best out of them. Molly is always seeking new ways to help develop writing and research skills in young people, and she teaches such skills at Revieweal.

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