I remember reading a book titled “A Civil Action” by Jonathan Harr about a small town in upstate New York where two companies illegally dumped toxic drum after toxic drum of chemicals which eventually worked their way into the water system. The court case was about a lawyer, who fought the good fight, to obtain justice for cancer-ridden families.
My point is: This toxic didn’t smell or taste awful. It took years to poison the wells. Yet, just the same, it was toxic.
And I will say to you, there are people in your organization that look and act like everyone else, yet at their core, they are slowly killing your team spirit.
In addition, this blog post is going to focus on how leaders and other team members typically deal with this person – much to the demise of the team as a whole. So, let’s take a look in greater detail what happens when management takes the following approach to deal with their “problem” child.
Many, many times management will just ignore the problem in hopes that it will go away. While it is true that team members come and go for a sundry of reasons; usually when there is a mass exodus or a major slow down of work, that is not organic.
I am facing this right now in one of my volunteer organizations. The woman that is the President of the organization is toxic. She is highly manipulative and does not listen. She has taken the air out of the board – but we are all ignoring her because her term ends very soon.
The trouble with ignorance is, it doesn’t solve any problem. It deals with nothing. And it erodes trust and confidence in the team.
Weak management often does not want to deal with the toxicity so they will promote the person to a destination far away making that person someone else’s headache. The manager thinks they are doing the team a favor – and although there may be a brief celebration that the person is gone – what does it really say to the team?
Act badly, and you too, will earn more money and have more status in the company.
What really happens when management does this? The energy from the team is sapped and employees start to wonder if hard work and productive results really pay off.
A somewhat productive method to toxicity is to bring the behavior to the attention of the person, set in motion an action plan to “fix the problem” and then hope the person changes. With a highly motivated and intuitive person, this strategy may work because the person may not know how their behavior affects the team. But often times the person is not either of these and it is just a temporary bandage to a much deeper problem.
Now the team is really concerned because leadership is spending a lot of time and effort trying to fix someone – often at the expense of noticing and praising great team contributors. Employee motivation goes to an all-time low.
Who You Going to Call When Dealing with Toxic People?
Larry Lipman, Owner of Fun Team Building, of course! Fun Team Building helps teams build trust and develop employee motivation. Larry molds participants into powerful and cohesive teams. Call Larry today at 770-333-3303!