How does it happen? Why does it happen? Everyone has seen it, yet it remains a mystery…
I was talking with an executive about this very phenomenon that was occurring in his organization. He said, “This employee has been with us for years, and he has been toxic for most of those years. He is rude, arrogant, and refuses to be a team player. However, because of his technical ability, no one is willing to risk losing him as an employee.”
I asked the executive what would happen if this man were no longer employed with his organization. He replied, “I believe we could replace the technical skill set, and I believe that our team would be in a much more healthy place.”
Thus, the mystery… Why don’t we deal with those who are toxic to our work environment? Why do we allow those who refuse to buy into our vision, mission, or culture to remain a part of our team? How is it they remain on our payroll, sucking the life out of leadership?
While I may not understand this phenomenon, I do realize the results it yields. Toxic team members cause frustration, confusion, and even fear for those we are leading.
As leaders, it is our responsibility to protect our vision and provide a culture for our team that undergirds our mission. Not doing so makes us derelict in our duties as leaders, and more importantly, hurts those we are leading.
In my opinion, the mystery can be solved when we as leaders commit to have hard conversations and make difficult decisions. It’s the right thing for our team, our organization, and our leadership. Choose to solve the mystery of toxicity, and you will make a difference.