Nobody likes to talk about it, but toxic behaviours can sometimes emerge even in our best team members. With emotions, conflicts, and differing approaches to managing challenges, it’s important to address these behaviours promptly. In this guide, we’ll explore common toxic behaviours, such as bullying, dishonesty, presenteeism, and the ever-so-toxic silent treatment, and provide practical strategies to deal with them effectively, fostering a healthier and happier workplace.

Identifying the Root Causes:

To address toxic behaviours, it’s essential to understand their underlying reasons. Conduct a culture audit to gain insight into why these behaviours are surfacing. Look for issues related to fairness, acknowledgment, or personal struggles. By pinpointing the root causes, you can address the actual problems rather than treating the symptoms. If it’s a problem with the workplace culture, there are interventions you can easily put in place.

Addressing Individual Behaviours:

When facing toxic behaviour from a single employee, it’s important not to jump to extreme measures. Instead, focus on the following steps:

  1. Recognise the Problem: Clearly communicate to the employee that their behaviours are problematic and explain how they are not beneficial for them or the workplace. Consider initiating a formal disciplinary process or make it clear that continued toxic behaviours will lead to such action.
  2. Desire for Change: Assess the employee’s willingness to change and their commitment to staying in the workplace. If they are disengaged or unhappy, it may be necessary to follow lawful procedures to start to manage them out of the business.

Working towards Change:

If the employee acknowledges the issue and shows a willingness to change, it’s possible to work together for improvement. Keep the following in mind:

  1. Continuous Feedback: Provide regular feedback that highlights both the positive changes and areas that still need improvement. Acknowledge any progress and address any lingering toxic behaviours with constructive feedback.
  2. Employee Support: Offer coaching and support to help the employee develop healthier ways to manage challenges. Investing time and effort into turning an employee around can end up being more valuable and rewarding for your culture than moving them on.

Dealing with Unchangeable Behaviours:

In cases where an individual is resistant or unable to change their toxic behaviours, swift action is necessary to prevent further damage.

Follow these steps:

  1. Define Workplace Standards: Establish clear values and behavioural expectations in your workplace. Use these standards as a framework for performance management.
  2. Formal Performance Management: Initiate a formal and documented performance management process to address the employee’s unacceptable behaviour. Ensure that this process aligns with your established standards and values.
  3. Seek Professional Assistance: When navigating complex situations, consider seeking external assistance from experts (like HR Gurus) who specialise in managing these processes effectively.

Dealing with toxic behaviours requires timely action and a commitment to creating a positive work environment. Act promptly, identify the root causes, address individual behaviours through clear communication and support, and establish standards for acceptable workplace conduct. Remember, seeking professional assistance can greatly facilitate the process. By effectively managing toxic behaviours, you can foster a happier, healthier, and more productive work environment for everyone involved.

This is a very quick guide to what can often be a very complex, consuming, and hard situation to deal with. Every situation is different, and we love helping our clients navigate these situations to get a good outcome and ultimately a happier workplace. We all spend way too much time at work to not enjoy it.

If you do have a toxic time bomb in your workplace, reach out to HR Gurus where one of our experts will be able to help you navigate a good outcome.

Written by Jessy Warn

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