Toxic people are an unavoidable part of reality and we have no choice but to deal with it. However, this doesn’t mean that you have to subject yourself to their poison. More importantly, you most certainly mustn’t subject your business to them. Listen to Harvard researchers who determined that toxic employees bring your bottom line down.
As you can see, on the business level, this isn’t a matter of personal tolerance or patience, or even your ability to suck it up and deal with an unpleasant person. This employee is an actual danger to your income, so you must deal with this problem decisively.
Alas, this is where the hard part starts. Sadly, you can’t fire someone for being a jerk. And you must never try to ‘give them a push’, which means trying to force them to quit out of their own volition. Just imagine how bad it will be if you end up being sued by that nasty employee.
Have no doubt, they will sue, because according to research, at least 4% of these people behave this way out of sheer spite. So, they will use any opportunity to bring even more trouble.
But what can you do to get rid of a toxic employee?
If there is no cause to fire them yet (don’t lose hope!) you need to go the old-fashioned route of talking. Make sure your discussion is private and be completely honest and reasonable when you lay out the problem. You need to explain exactly which of their behaviors are unacceptable and why. If you are lucky, your employee is one of the 96% who are being toxic unintentionally and thus have the potential to change.
You also need to set precise boundaries and set punishments for breaking them. Choose the punishment based on what your employee is most interested in, like denying them promotion if their behavior doesn’t improve.
You’ll no doubt have to repeat this talk several times, so stock up on patience and aspirin.
In the meantime, check out my post on how to hire good employees from the beginning.