|| 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 Love Boat|
|The Food Pod Grows Up|
|The High Road|
|Tinker, Tailor, Portland Maker|
|The Shift to Community Health Care|
|The Harder They Fall|
|Another chapter to the Bezos/Musk space race story|
|Thanksgiving travel: Fuel costs low, terrorism anxiety high|
|Costco chicken salad linked to E. coli case in Washington|
|Nestle comes clean about benefitting from slave labor|
|Enormous drugmaker emerges from Pfizer, Allergan deal|
|Startups joining lobbying game|
|Merchants complain as Square goes public|
Economic diversity has proven a smart strategy for the Port of Hood River. How can other Oregon communities replicate the model?
Phone, Internet needs of small community school districts earn attention of top-five telecom provider.
Farmland LP grows its vision for organic farming in Oregon.
The Salem Convention Center has capped its tenth anniversary year by earning the prestigious “Best of the Best 2015” award from NW Meetings & Events magazine. Selected as the Best Convention/Conference Venue in Oregon by meeting and event planners from Alaska, British Columbia, Idaho, Oregon and Washington, the Salem Convention Center ranked above the Oregon Convention Center and the Portland Art Museum.
The Oregon Cooperative Hall of Fame honors individuals for their outstanding contributions to the successful building and operation of Oregon agricultural cooperatives.
Health insurer reports $10.2 million in net income after taxes through the first nine months of 2015.