15 July 2024, 03:57
By Steve Pickering Sept 13, 2023

Dealing with toxic team members

Steve Pickering, the ‘unorthodox’ CEO of fast-growing South East independent bed retail chain Sussex Beds, offers his tips on dealing with negative staff traits  … 

Definition of the toxic team member: “Great at their tasks, smashing numbers, but their poor attitude and corrosive actions are sucking the life out of the greater team.”

We’ve had a few of these types of people over the years, and a common trait in all of them is a lack of self-awareness or emotional intelligence. Frustratingly, they could be exceptional team members, but for whatever reason they are either unable or unwilling to honestly self-reflect or to understand how their negative behaviours impact the greater team.

In the past, we’ve been guilty of inaction or burying our heads in the sand when it comes to dealing with toxic team members. This is both costly to the business and extremely damaging to team morale and company culture. It breeds apathy and destroys engagement.

Over the past 18 months, this has changed. We no longer tolerate toxic behaviours. Systems such as quarterly 1:1’s and records of conversations have been put in place which allow our line leaders to quickly react to any behaviour lapses or issues.

I’m not a Manchester United fan (since breaking my heart at the age of 10 when they beat Brighton & Hove Albion in the FA cup final-replay, which I attended – I was gutted).However, I am a huge admirer of Sir Alex Ferguson, the master of team management. No-one was bigger than the club, and he would act swiftly to remove anyone, high or low profile, in order to protect the greater team. We all know the success they achieved under his leadership.

Are you guilty of inaction with regards to dealing with toxic behaviour? How do you manage toxic team members in your business?

Discover more of Steve’s thoughts on his blog, here.

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