10 Toxic Employee/Worker Traits (Types) & Dealing With Them

Working in a team can be a creative and helpful process at the same time, but it is also challenging. While you need to understand different people, you also need to work with them.

In this article, we bring you toxic employee traits and useful advice on how to discover them, but most important, how to deal with them. Be sure to read till the end to get them all.


10 Toxic Employee Traits

Making Excuses Type

The worst trait for the team is to have someone who will find an excuse for everything. This type can kill the idea in the beginning. It isn’t always making excuses about the personal situation, but will always have a reason why something is impossible or unnecessary. Many outside things can influence their opinion – feeling under traffic or weather, they can demotivate the whole team.

For dealing with that type, you will need to stay positive in any situation. Try to be open and talk before working together. Also, if you notice they feel stressed or have a problem, communicate openly and change their mood. What is more, you can encourage others to share opinions and discuss ideas. Be sure they give you a weekly report of their work. But don’t worry, there are many work morale boosters to help you even in situations they achieved in bad influence in the group. Just be sure to use them as soon as you notice different behavior.

Complaining Type

Nothing is more annoying than hearing constant complaining from your colleague. From personal problems to work environment – they always find something to complain about. Sure, everybody has bad days and it feels good to complain or just tell the bad situation from time to time. It can help you see other perspectives and think through them. Yet, the complaining type only wants to bring attention to them and needs others to feel sorry. Such a pessimistic person can easily change the overall mood.

Before solving a situation, try to be empathetic and listen to their problem. Sometimes, they just can`t find the right solution and only need the right advice. But, if this is common behavior, it can be very exhausting to solve. Be sure that you have listened to them and then direct their bad energy into finding solutions for problems.

Aggressive Type

Aggressive type is a very alarming employee trait in the group and definitely not an example of characteristics of a good worker. This can have bad consequences in stressful situations which can end with unwanted behavior. An aggressive person can’t control themselves and may offend other workers.

The aggressiveness can be both psychical and verbal and it is usually a sign of poor mental health and low self-worth, but can be also because of jealousy. Before hiring someone, you need to be sure how to find good employees and check their previous behavior. If you have a situation in the workplace, try to calm down an aggressive person, isolate them and try to speak alone. Going to training on how to control rage can be very helpful.

independent type

Passive Type

Passive or lazy type can slow down your project. This type of employee can be rather smart and creative, but needs constant motivation and boost to finish the task. They can be rather unhelpful to their colleagues and avoid any responsibility. What is more, it is very effective on the whole team and they might stop caring about the task. Finally, when the due date is close, they will finish it, but usually not quality.

If you have this type of employee, try to divide the project into smaller segments. Manage and monitor their work regularly for small business goals and motivate them with small prizes when they finish tasks. Also, bring them onto educations and try to help them find their best qualities. People who are satisfied tend to be more productive.

Gossiping Type

It’s one of the toxic employee traits that you can deal with most often. Gossips are common in every office but tend to have both positive and negative effects. The positive effect is an unofficial communication channel where superiors can find out what others think about them and their work. The negative is that most stories are made up and can cause splits between colleagues. They usually talk negatively and spread a toxic atmosphere in the office.

You need to stress that gossip is forbidden in the workplace. No discrimination or avoidance should be tolerated. If you hear somebody gossiping, be open and ask them if you want to ask that person about the truth of that story. Also, gossiping can use much time and you can warn your team if you notice them talking. Spreading gossips can cause mistrust among colleagues and endanger the project.

Independent Type

Many people can’t work in a team and they need to find another type of job, but if you get an independent type into your group, you will need to balance the situation. Usually, this is a typical know-it-all who avoids others’ advice and ideas. This person can be talented but can act better than the others. People who are team players tend to avoid that kind of personality and it may be a problem to make the teamwork.

If you need to deal with it, then give them more responsibility, like keeping the project track or finishing my due date. That type can be very motivating and can teach colleagues a lot. Also, there is much training where you can teach them how to help others without looking arrogant.

chess fight

Narcissist Type

People who can finish the job on their own are ideal for solo projects, but those types can ruin a team project. They usually don’t believe in teamwork and might avoid communication with others. Also, they might take credit for all teamwork done together, which is very unfair to others.

If you want to prevent negative and toxic behavior, you need to be aware that much effort should be given. First, try to get to know each member of a team. Then, try to stress which is each other’s best trait. They lack empathy but can overreact if you complain about them, so be sure that you talk openly, but tentative. Praise teamwork and make sure you convince them working together was their great idea.

Sexually Harassing Type

Sexual harassment is the most serious foul some employees can make. No matter of sex, it can hurt another person on a professional and personal level. Also, it can cause serious problems, like low self-esteem, depression, and anxiety. This involves any type of inappropriate sexual behavior or remarks. It can be both physical and verbal but can cause equal damage.

If you notice or are offered any time sexual offer and you find it inappropriate or it hurts someone`s feelings, you need to report it. Those types must be removed quickly. If you know the victim, don’t silence it: always check the story twice since everybody is innocent until it is confirmed. If you want to prevent that kind of behavior, be sure that your colleagues know all about it and can recognize it quickly.

Lying Type

The toxic worker is somebody who lies a lot. From little lies about why are they late for work or need a day off to bigger ones like why is project late, they can give you misinformation that can change the whole view on the project. Also, it can confuse the team and once you find the truth, you will lose the trust in them and the team can fall apart. Liars usually come with making excuses and this combination can be fatal for the project.

If you know the truth, you need to confront the liar. Be sure that you have a polite and emphatic approach, but tell them all facts you know. Also, double-check all information and be sure that your words can change their behavior.

Disorganized Type

The team can properly work and finish the task if everything is on time and organized. A disorganized person can consume much time and slow down the whole process. There are different levels of disorganization. Some people have problems with time management, while others use data poorly. A simple sign, as a messy work desk, can be the first sign of the problem. Also, this person is usually late and can cause many delays.

Time management is the most important for a disorganized team. You need to make a strict schedule everyone is stick to. Also, punish those who don’t finish tasks. They need to learn that people depend on them and you need to explain that well. To avoid procrastination, use everyday reminders and feedback. Or simply learn how to hire good employees.

Final Verdict

One toxic worker can be a great danger to the whole team. Some people are too independent and like to work on their own, while some make excuses or are very passive. All in all, toxic employee traits affect the whole team. To avoid it, you need to be aware of each and find the best solution for each member. For independent type, or to avoid fights, it might be a good solution to ensure them an isolated office with a nice adjustable chair with wheels, a cool filing cabinet, and a curved monitor for office work.

Joana graduated in 2014. and has a master's degree in linguistics. The education makes her an expert in business communication while her 5-year work experience gives her expertise in business researches and writing. She has been working on several services as an editor and writer studying business cases and publishing results she has come to. She has established many collaborations with experts in human resources and management so she uses the knowledge of experts for writing the articles.