Recently, Gina brought an issue to one of our CEO groups. She had a General Manager (we’ll call her Judy) who had been with her since startup and, until recently, had worked out pretty well. However, as the company began to grow, Judy began to be trouble.
She demonstrated a low work standard to the other employees and refused to “jump in and do the grunt work” when it would have been good for her to do so to set an example. The last straw was when Judy began to clash with Gina, sometimes even in front of the members of her team.
The problem is, Gina had given Judy the title of General Manager (GM). Now, she was certain that she needed to either terminate Gina, get a new General Manager, or both. However, any of those scenarios seemed as if they would create more trouble.
If she terminated Gina, there would be ripples with the other employees, plus, Gina had a “soft spot” for Judy, having worked with her from the beginning of her business. If she brought in a new General Manager and kept Judy, she risked Judy creating even more trouble. This was one of those classic “Catch-22″ business management situations.
What to do?
The CEO group, acting as Gina’s “Board,” kicked into high gear to help her. One member mentioned that this kind of “toxic employee” cannot be allowed to remain in a company. She will only continue to poison other employees. He gave several experiences of his own to Gina to punctuate the point. Other members agreed.
The message was loud and clear: terminate the toxic employee.
Gina followed her group members’ advice; the next month she came back and happily reported that since terminating Judy, the entire atmosphere of her company had changed; a new GM had been hired who knew what he was doing, and everything was on the upswing – even sales. All from just one seemingly small management move – terminating that toxic employee.
Don’t let a toxic employee begin to bring down your culture. Often, the toxicity of such a person seems to develop slowly – sometimes this person even begins as the most positive person on the team. So look for warning signs and “nip this problem in the bud” early, before things get more difficult to handle.
If you don’t you risk brining your whole team down and even losing more people than the original problem employee. Be diligent on this!
Tell us about your toxic employee solutions, in a comment below.