Do You Have It In You To Fire Your Toxic Superstar? If Not, Get Ready For It!

Do You Have It In You To Fire Your Toxic Superstar? If Not, Get Ready For It!


A 2015 study by Harvard Business School has revealed that the cost of retaining a toxic employee is higher than that of an average performer because he drives up attrition leading to a higher turnover and training costs. We are talking about that one person in the team who has a negative spin on all achievements, riles up the team by saying or doing offensive and irritating things and is considered a bad apple by everyone. This person makes work life a nightmare for other leaders included and is the toxic employee.

Think of anyone?  If yes, how did you handle it as a leader?

There is a difference between a difficult employee and a toxic employee. Toxic employee diminishes everyone’s productivity and causes harm by spreading unacceptable behaviors to others. This Harvard study also found evidence that toxic employees are more productive themselves than average employees and often display a pattern of de–energizing, frustrating and putting down their team mates, very similar to the conduct of super star athletes who have off field issues yet stay on the team. Such a situation is a two pronged sword for you as a leader. You have to make the choice of terminating a high performing employee who is hitting all goals but indirectly incurring losses to the bottom line as a result of his toxic negative behavior.

As the business owner and leader will you let toxic behavior slide for a high performing employee?

While it is a difficult situation for you, lack of action in controlling the toxic employee will also mean you are fostering a culture which encourages offensive behaviors in the company. Such a culture will impact your business in the long run. Here are five reasons why you need to act quickly on bad apples in your team.

  1. Rude and discourteous behavior at work distracts and upsets employees leading to loss of work time.
  2. It results in increased employee dissatisfaction and decrease in commitment to the company
  3. Negative behavior or bullying impacts overall productivity as employees waste work hours in avoiding the toxic person.
  4. Lack of action against offensive behavior leads to diminishing of employee morale and reduced work effort. It sanctions negative behavior and leads to higher turnover and impact on company performance.
  5. You are compromising your position as a leader by condoning offensive behavior and telling your team they can’t trust you to confront harmful behavior.

If you have a toxic employee, YOU need to get rid of him as the leader and mitigate the damage done. You need to take a stand, set the right tone and defend your team, your business, your bottom line and right the wrong. Research has shown a positive impact on productivity and employee morale when toxic employees have been let go as it energized the workforce and reiterated the faith in the company culture.

Sometimes it is difficult to get rid of toxic employee for numerous reasons and as Business Coaches we guide our clients in recognizing harmful behavior patterns and taking corrective actions.

Here are some quick tips to remember –

  • Separate the toxic employee asap from the remaining workforce.
  • Make an effort to understand why he is behaving like this. He may have personal issues or may need professional counselling.
  • Give concrete, specific feedback and offer the opportunity to change while explaining the consequences.
  • Document everything.

Toxic employees dissipate resources, time, team morale and need to be let go or they will erode the company culture. At Expandus, we work with you to confront such conflicts and take them head on in a matured manner before they impact your business.

Expandus Business Coaching Private Limited is an ActionCOACH Business Coaching, USA Franchise Partner located in Pune at Koregaon Park. We offer specially designed high impact personalized One-on-One business coaching and mentoring for Founders, Directors and CEOs of Small to Medium sized businesses. Our coaching is aimed at helping businesses grow to exceed their targets and earn higher profits through smart strategies.

Get personalized advice on managing difficult employees and become an amazing Manager that your staff looks up to.

The tips we share are a small part of what we do at our coaching sessions.

If you’d like to take the whole framework and install in your business, then do drop an email at [email protected] with subject line as “Scale Session” and we’ll reach out to you with all the details quickly.

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