|| Print ||
|Friday, March 18, 2011|
By Tom Cox
Toxic incivility in the workplace is costing money, driving away the best employees — it’s even killing people.
Don’t believe it? A recent study by VitalSmarts and the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) found examples like these:
The same things happens in the non-medical field — maybe in your workplace. Instead of killing people, maybe it’s just killing your profits and driving away your best workers and customers.
What’s a toxic employee, really? They show toxic behaviors, according to Mitch Kusy and Elizabeth Holloway, authors of Toxic Workplace — one or more of these three behaviors, each of which is horribly corrosive of teamwork and productivity:
How bad is the problem?
According to Kusy and Holloway, a stunning 94% of leaders report having worked with a toxic person. The impact on organizational performance is profoundly bad.
Alan Rosenstein’s 10 years of research has shown that 60 percent of medication errors are due to toxic or bad behavior. The most common problem is that others are afraid to speak up, and don’t. Because a doctor or a lead nurse is overly abrasive, and thus intimidating the other workers, so nobody is willing to question when a medication order might contain a mistake — so the mistakes don’t get caught.
30.7% of nurses leave their jobs due to toxic behaviors they experience, at a cost of 1.5 to 2.5 times salary.
How do they get away with it?
Entrenched toxic people build “systems of power” to protect themselves. They “Kiss Up and Kick Down” — a chameleon-like ability to fool bosses and mislead the people who would normally find them and fix them, while terrorizing their subordinates.
And co-workers enable toxic behavior by creating workarounds:
How to Find Toxic Workers
If you’re the subordinate — get two or three others and go as a group to your toxic boss’ boss. Document the problems first (here’s how). Or forward to your boss’ boss the link to this article.
If you’re the boss — look for the warning signs:
If you’ve got even one of these symptoms, investigate. Two? You’ve got toxicity.
How to Fix Toxic Workers
Amazingly, 99% of toxic people can be saved. (Here’s how Google is fixing their worst managers.) You just need to start — by being serious about the problem — and using some simple tools.
Tool: Skip-Level Evaluation
Both on a schedule and in response to specific concerns. If you have the authority, institute this practice for all managers. If you don’t, just start doing it yourself for the managers who report to you.
Tool: In-House or Outside Coaching
Put your toxic person on a 6-month performance plan with a good executive coach. Make it clear their future depends on it — and stick to the deadline if they don’t improve. Most will improve… once they believe you’re serious.
Your best people will thank you. (Listen to my podcast with Kusy and Holloway here.)
Contributing blogger Thomas B. Cox runs Cox Business Consulting, Inc. and is creator of the blog and web radio show Tom on Leadership, aimed at CEOs and business owners. He has worked with IBM, Oracle, Tektronix, ODOT, Intel and others.
|The 100 Best Nonprofits to Work for in Oregon 2014|
|A Recipe for Success|
|Uber considers flu shot delivery service|
|P&G plans to exit Duracell|
|Target to offer free holiday shipping|
|Caterpillar gains after raising forecast|
|Dow Chemical profit up 44%|
|Boeing profit jumps 18%|
|Verizon posts higher Q3 revenue|
Is your business ready to join us in the call for action? This opening panel includes Oregon businesses who will discuss why they signed the Oregon Climate Declaration, the investments they are making to reduce carbon emissions, and how their actions are affecting their companies.
Get ready for two days of special events produced with the EPA, Portland Timbers and ISOS before and after the GoGreen Conference on October 16.
Finding a health insurance plan that makes both financial sense for the bottom line and provides choice for plan participants is a huge challenge for employers.
The right financing at the right time is critical for small businesses to succeed.
Among Oregon universities, Oregon Tech is special in the way it incorporates applied research into the curricula of every department.
More than 400 "Change Makers" will gather to invest in a socially sustainable community.