Is Your Co-Worker Toxic?

Recently as I was connecting with a team and two individuals were debating over whether or not one of their co-workers was “toxic”.


It’s this word we frequently use to describe what I would call the cancer among the team. 

Whatever their antics, they spread disengagement, negativity, and an overall disruption of productivity.

I paused the debate and asked them if they could instead describe this individual's behaviors. They shared these workplace behaviors: 

Actions & Words Disconnect:  In one breathe they would ask for a promotion and in another they would be complaining about their overwhelming workload.  They would receive the opportunity to step into a new project, and then again complain about all the demands being put on them. 

Lack of Integrity:  Slowly as time went on the team started to catch this individual in little white lies.  Things that seemingly didn’t even matter, but what they were telling one team was different from the other.  

Inability to Receive Feedback:  Various attempts to give them feedback were met with defensive denial and a victim mentality.  It was never their fault and they were quick to blame another person or department. 

Inconsistency:  Who they were with one team and what they communicated began to be different with other teams.  It was hard to know where they stood, what to believe, and if you could trust what they would say to each team member. 

Was this person toxic?  Maybe, maybe not, but the KEY was their lack of connection to the other employees.

So is your co-worker toxic? Maybe, maybe not.

More important than giving your co-worker a toxic label is to focus on the behaviors that do not align with the culture you’re trying to create!

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