Bad Apples

Bad attitude. Unpleasant behavior. Negative words. Body language that screams “Leave me alone!” Misbehaving employees harm the workplace environment, undermine the culture and divert the energies of other employees into less productive thoughts and actions. Given this impact, one would assume employees with these behaviors would not be tolerated, and addressed immediately.

Yet so-called “toxic employees” are simply ignored 44% of the time, according to the “2019 Toxic Workplace Report.

Despite their devastating impact, toxic employees are likely tolerated for a variety of reasons. The responsibility for addressing such employees is clear; immediate supervisors and managers of employees are expected to drive employee performance and address employee behaviors.

So why are so many of them not doing so?

Put simply, many don’t know how. Other studies and anecdotal feedback indicates that many managers and supervisors lack the skills and confidence to effectively handle bad apple employees. This results in “head in the sand” responses, as well as ineffective approaches to workplace behavior and performance conversations with problematic employees.

What can employers do to improve this situation?

Investing in manager skill development is likely the best choice for employers trying to figure out an effective response to this challenge. Investing in managers’ skills has a multiplier effect; improving their abilities can boost performance of all members of their team – not just the bad apples. Effective communication skills can be transformative for a manager; fortunately, such skills can be learned and a time tested strategy is training supplemented with focused coaching.

Stop tolerating the bad apples in your organization. For help with addressing toxic employees and building the skills of your managers, contact Employers Council.