Toxic people

How to deal with a “toxic person” on a team? Think hard. People aren’t leased machinery. This is someone.

Everyone deserves a shot at redemption. Don’t walk all that knowledge out the door before you:
– reflect hard on what you’re labelling “toxic”
– ask the person why. Have a _safe_ and sympathetic conversation.

– address any issues creating the behaviour

– help them find their right place in the system

– adjust the system to reduce the behaviour
– ask yourself whether the culture permits or even encourages the behaviour
– consider the consequences of the violence of firing someone. Everybody else had better agree with the decision or you do as much harm as good. They all know they could be next.

Consider the Pub Test: “what are they like at the pub?” If the answer is that they’re ok out of work, then the problem is usually outside the individual.  You might need to be more concerned  about their line manager allowing the situation to develop.

It is possible for toxic people to smuggle themselves into a job. It does happen. Bit it’s rare. We had a client who accidentally hired a mafia-style gang member! So we still need a mechanism to manage people out. Occasionally.

It comes back to my point that everybody else better agree it’s the right thing to do. Sometimes the person themselves agrees it is fair enough! When a colleague got drunk and molested the CEO’s PA at a party, they were already packing.

The USA seems to have a particular predilection for firing as a normal management tool, but the idea is everywhere. _That_ is a toxic behaviour. It poisons the safety of those remaining.