The truth is – toxic employees can be anyone in your business, holding titles such as directors, managers, or any position for that matter. A job title doesn't exempt anyone from being a toxic influence.


This toxicity can manifest in various forms and most commonly in these 7 types of Toxic Employees. 


The Bulldozer

Known for their loud, disruptive presence, these individuals tend to steamroll over others' contributions to get their own way. These employees believe it's their way or the highway (and it’s definitely not!). 


The Passive-Aggressive One

They won’t say it to your face, but oh, will you feel it. Sarcasm, bitterness and snarky remarks are huge red flags. 


The Chronic Complainer 

Nothing is ever right or good enough for this employee. Despite your efforts to accommodate and satisfy them, they always pick holes, find a way to create issues and bring everyone down with them. 


The Knowledge Hoarder 

Preferring isolation over collaboration, they keep crucial business insights to themselves, believing it solidifies their job security. No one wants that kind of manipulation and blackmail in their team. 


The Prideful One 

Quick to gloat about their successes but slow to realise when they’re wrong, and completely unresponsive when it comes to criticism. Just like The Bulldozers, they truly believe they’re “always right”.


The Gossipmonger

Going beyond the normal office chit-chat, they constantly gossip and spread rumours about colleagues, business leaders or the company. Let’s stop spilling the tea in the office and keep the storytelling on the big screen. 


The Underperformer  

High expectations are met with incredibly low results. Marked by a pattern of excuses and consistent failure to meet goals, they often shift their responsibilities onto other colleagues. 


But before you start going on a firing spree, let’s talk tactics.


It might go without saying, but just to be clear, here are just a few things we'd strongly recommend you don’t do... 


  • Don't bring any issues up in front of the whole team – as a leader, it’s your responsibility to handle the situation professionally and privately. Avoid outing someone's behaviour - it only adds fuel to the fire.
  • Don't terminate without proof – you’re only asking for a tribunal claim. Make sure you follow process, gather evidence and provide solutions before taking any action. 
  • Don't disrespect the toxic team member – everyone knows, you don't fight fire with fire. So make sure you don't fight toxic employees with more toxicity. It’s your responsibility to remain professional and respectful!
  • Don't take it personally - remember that their actions probably have nothing to do with you. Remain objective and approach the situation with empathy.


We would suggest you: 


  • Identify the Root Cause - while some individuals might inherently exhibit toxic traits, often, a specific incident or ongoing situation triggers this behaviour.
  • Gather Facts - compile clear, factual evidence of any inappropriate or negative actions, including detailed accounts and any formal complaints. 
  • Communicate - regular, honest conversations can expose underlying issues and help prevent misunderstandings.
  • Be Candid and Clear - give the employee the hard cold facts. The employee may be unaware of their impact on others. Offer them constructive criticism, propose solutions, and provide an opportunity to rectify their behaviour.


Although the red flags may be the same, each toxic situation and employee is completely unique. Therefore, to effectively remove toxicity from your workplace, you need an effective strategy in place


Call in the experts and together we can create a strategy to identify, manage, and, if necessary, transition toxic employees out of your business fairly and effectively.

Recommended Insights
Navigating Negative Resignations: Our Top Tips
Employee resignations are an inevitable part of running a business. While some exits are amicable and mutually agreed upon, others may in...
Love is in the Air: Navigating Relationships in the Workplace
If you can remember that far back, you’ll know that school was always more fun when you were going out with someone. It just gave y...
Handling Difficult Conversations: From Stress to Success in the Workplace
Picture this: you're a new manager, tasked with addressing performance issues, resolving conflicts, and delivering critical feedback....
Agile HR: How to find the best HR System for you
There’s no way around it, we are firmly in the golden age, or maybe even platinum age, of technology. We cannot move for the want o...
Checkatrade Trustpilot Gardeners World Live FCA iTV Grand Designs

This site uses some cookies to store information on your computer. By using our site you accept our Terms And Conditions and Privacy Policy.