Employer Branding

The 5 Qualities of a Toxic Worker

Looking at your workforce, does everyone have a positive energy and get along well with each other? Or is there one particular individual who just makes life unnecessarily difficult and creates a negative atmosphere when they are around? If the latter is the case, it sounds like you may have a toxic employee on your hands.

If the reason behind the behaviour is that the individual is unhappy in their job, then you may be able to resolve the issues; however if you fail to deal with the toxic worker, it could have negative consequences for the business.

Whether they spread office gossip, or are constantly complaining about work, these behaviours can bring the team morale down. Here are a few of the most common qualities of a toxic employee, that you may want to keep an eye out for:

1) They’re over-confident:

A toxic worker tends to over-rate their own abilities and skills and believe they are better at their job than those around them. Their arrogance and know-it-all attitude can make it difficult to work with them in a team and can cause conflict to arise, due to a lack of cooperation.

2) They’re self-centred:

A toxic worker cares more about their own well-being and success than anyone else’s and are likely to put them selves first whenever possible. They are unlikely to help others when they need assistance and will only go beyond their role if it is going to benefit them directly. Though this is sometimes an ego thing, sometimes the individual is just entirely oblivious to the impact they have on others.

3) They’re always complaining:

Toxic workers are often negative in the workplace because they are unhappy in their job. For this reason it’s common for them to complain about work to just about anyone who will listen, whether the issues are to do with their workload, their manager, customers/clients, or something else work related. They’ll often try to get others ‘on board’ and plant the seed in their minds that there are problems in the workplace and bring the mood down in general.

4) They use unethical methods to get ahead:

Toxic workers can play malicious games in order to get ahead. They will often go behind another employees back, or sabotage another’s success in order for personal gain or acknowledgement from management. Some examples of this could be by taking credit for somebody else’s work, or flagging up other people’s mistakes, in order to make themselves look better.

5) They are dead-set on following the rules:

Abiding by the workplace rules and regulations may sound like a positive quality for an employee to possess, however research has found that the more adamant an individual is that rules should be stuck to at all times, the more likely they are to be fired for breaking the rules. Ironic!

[Image Credit: Shutterstock]

By Sophie Deering