Bosses need to be aware of the cost of hiring a toxic employee, because just one can be disastrous for the organisation.
That’s right – even having only one toxic person in your team is enough to drag down morale of your staff.
A research by Lund University in Sweden, highlighting the adverse effects of incivility showed that when it comes to dealing with difficult staff, one bad apple can spoil the whole barrel.
It found that toxic employees have an unhealthy ripple effect that harms co-workers, managers and subordinates alike.
The study examined the effect of behaviors such as ignoring someone, giving a dirty look, or “forgetting” to include a co-worker on an important email, for example.
Researchers discovered these interactions can be just as damaging as more aggressive bullying.
The study also found incivility doesn’t just harm the perpetrator and the victim. Witnessing a co-worker’s rude behaviour can be also be very damaging.
To begin with, rude behaviour is contagious. Researchers found that workers who witnessed someone treating others unkindly were more likely to treat others in a malicious manner.
Bystanders not only began treating others poorly, but they also began provoking their co-workers after they’d been exposed to a toxic employee.
Working with a toxic person doesn’t just impact employees at the office– it can also take a serious toll on their home life and their physical health.
People who encounter rude co-workers are likely to experience sleep problems. Sleep-deprivation can interfere with their ability to cope with stress, which can make dealing with hostile employee even more difficult.
All these factors lead to higher turnover rate as unsurprisingly, talented and team-spirited employees will seek opportunities with a more positive workplace culture.
To make things worse, rude employees often seem to have a fair amount of social support, most likely because no one wants to be on their bad side, the report finds.
ALSO READ: Signs of a truly toxic workplace
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