When an employee becomes more of a liability than an asset

27th Sep 2016
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No one said that running a company was easy. There are plenty of decisions that have to be taken each day, and not all of these are pleasant. One of these is showing the door to employees or key players who are likely to hinder the growth of the company for various reasons. Culling out the truly problematic ones from the minor slackers is crucial in such a scenario.

Here are a few types to look out for:

The Martyrs

Employees who fall under this category shy away from accountability and prefer to play the blame game. They point fingers at others for their own incompetence. Their excuses can range from exaggerations to fake illness to personal problems. It doesn’t matter how great everything is going; they will find something to complain about and play the victim card. The problem arises when their influence rubs off on colleagues and team members. They do not believe in looking for opportunities or in innovation – two things that are crucial to a company’s growth and well-being.

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The Anarchists

These are individuals who like to set themselves apart from the rest by refusing to follow the rules or adhere to the company’s policy in matters such as following a dress code or even meeting project deadlines. Their tendency to view rules as a form of control is what leads to them acting out. As long as you can find a way to work with these anarchists, you might actually be able to channel their energies productively. But at times, such people tend to cross the line and start bossing over colleagues and teammates. This can cause other employees to look for other options, and you might end up losing real talent.

The Smart Alecks

Adept at predicting the future, over time they gradually turn into naysayers who are better at explaining why things cannot be done instead of coming up with ideas on how to implement plans. Unfortunately, it is often the veteran and smartest employee who is vulnerable to metamorphosing into a member of this particular species. When this happens, such individuals can prevent the team from making optimal use of opportunities that are up for the grabbing. A classic example of this is the Western Union internal memo, circa 1876, that said, “This 'telephone' has too many limitations to be seriously regarded as a means of communication.”

Research conducted by Dylan Minor of the Kellogg School indicates that the toxic employees of these categories increase the likelihood of workers with increased exposure to toxicity turning toxic themselves by about 47 percent. Having clear-cut policies regarding absenteeism and sharing of responsibilities might alleviate the situation to some extent, but if things do not improve, then your best option is to let these problematic people go. Replacing them with professionals who are on the same page as you is sure to boost growth and improve morale all round.

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