We all have friends or colleagues who are constantly saying, “No, don’t do that because…” on any of our ideas that we share with them. I had one such friend who discouraged me from any ideas I had. Every discussion with him made me unhappy because every time I felt joy about a new idea it was immediately lost when I asked him for his feedback. He became my “joy thief”; he stole joy from any project I shared with him asking for his feedback on it.
I wasn’t motivated to turn any new idea into reality anymore, just because he crushed it with the number of comments talking about why that idea was not good. But sometimes you need to let some people go to get the joy back, and the best thing I did was to let that friend go.
Whether at home or at work, there is always that one friend, family member, a friend from Facebook, board member, or member of staff who makes life difficult for everyone around them. These toxic people negatively affect not only our lives but also our productivity anywhere they step foot. They live their life spreading a dark cloud in personal and business relationships.
Of course, you must have held countless conversations with them if you consider them as friends, maybe you are even trying to change them and give them feedback. Yet, in spite of everything, they are unwilling to change.
The most important question is, “Would you like to have these people in your life?”.
Here are seven reasons to cut toxic people off:
1. You do not need unnecessary stress
Stress literally kills us and long-term exposure to stress can lead to serious health problems. And nobody wants those in their lives.
Leaders and team managers are constantly required to stay on top of their game. They are required to brave everyday problems that mentally and physically affect the team’s health. Toxic people, whether consciously or unconsciously, impose unwarranted stress on their environment, sucking away morale and strength in the process.
As a leader, you don’t want to spend the rest of your work hours settling disputes caused by a toxic individual or start each morning appealing to a slighted team member — who just got insulted by an always-toxic team member — when there are numerous deadlines to meet and pressing projects to develop.
One thing you need to know is that stress kills morale and health. A toxic worker keeps everybody agitated and angry. When heightened tensions and discord take root within a team, leadership and followers lose momentum. Workers argue among each other. People start phoning in sick, and workflow is disrupted. Mental and physical health eventually become hampered.
To keep the peace and a healthy state of mind of your people, cut that toxic person from your team as soon as possible.
2. The need for a drama-free environment to thrive and survive
Drama in one’s life is a problem inducer. Imagine waking up every day to the sound of a nagging and never-contented partner on your neck. You give him or her an inch, and they take the whole hectare — with no empathy or sympathy in them. Imagine having to interact with someone who is always trying to manipulate you.
This is what working or living with toxic people feels like. On the other hand, even worse, you remain mute while their decision-making directly affects you.
Even when they are hard workers, toxic team members use the bulk of their resourcefulness in introducing drama and confrontation into a peaceful setting. They dwell on old malice and carry a false air of entitlement. You will find them nitpicking the religion, political views and race of their peers and superiors.
They are never interested in fixing anything; instead, they introduce more drama and commotion. Toxic people complain about everything. They are prima donnas of every workplace; they thirst to remain the center of attention. Everything just has to go their way. And when it doesn’t, drama lets loose.
Eventually, they become the ultimate beacon of adversity, stealing the happiness and unity of their surroundings. Take the necessary step today to create a drama-free environment by letting these people go.
3. You need to curb their infection
Toxic people spread their toxicity like a virus. When a single toxic person is introduced into a progressive work atmosphere, trouble is likely to brew. Gossip, backbiting, and hatred will catch on like wildfire. Morals and goodwill dissipate over time. Strong foundations can crumble when a single crack appears. Nobody — small or large team — is safe from catching the ills distributed by toxic people.
Even the calmest person in your team is not safe from the infection of negative individuals. Their main objective is unhealthy competition and internal discord. They will wreck the confidence of everybody, peers, and leaders included. Your once unified team members will then become victims of in-group bias, shoving away teamwork and embracing conflicts.
That is why it is necessary to curb their infection before it overtakes your life and organization. Let your leadership stand against any toxic person or group that is hell-bent on shifting the current mindset, culture, and goal of your team.
4. They are chasing out your talents
Nobody wants to work in a toxic environment. And, more importantly, top talents, people with unlimited job options, will never stay long under a boss who condones toxic people.
One thing you need to bear in mind is that a toxic man or woman lacks simple empathy. They see their peers as a means to an end. Using sinister mind games, they control and like to be in control. When outcomes don’t favor them, or they see peers doing better, they get malicious and bitter.
Toxic people take pleasure in highlighting the failings of others, whether real or unreal, in a bleak light. They ignore their own shortcomings and invest all their energy in pulling others down. There is really a difference between giving constructive criticism to others and blatantly bashing their character. Toxic people don’t know the difference. Instead, they promote jealousy and envy.
A community or team in which jealousy and envy are prevalent is a very unreliable one. And toxic people, because of their covetousness and self-righteousness, attack your team’s self-worth and image. Cutting them off at this point is the only way to salvage your organization.
5. You are losing credibility with their stay
Keeping people who exploit, lie, steal and spread hatred is never a great way to run an organization. It’s possible that toxic employees might be high performers and raking in revenue in your organization. However, your character and hard-won company image become very vulnerable when your team carries a level of toxicity with them.
Company image and culture go hand in hand. A bad egg in a team can take away decades of hard work and stellar employer experience. A great leader sees this. And he or she is willing to help their team overcome internal and external issues. A bad egg is still a bad egg. You are doing yourself a disservice by keeping them around.
6. You need to save your business
Keeping your business afloat, in this day and age of stringent policies and neck-breaking taxes, is hard. Handling a toxic person in times like this is much harder. A decline in profits is understandable in a tough economic climate. However, a decline in profit — due to toxic employees — is very unacceptable.
A reputable business is founded on the trustworthiness of its members. When your people start showing signs of toxicity, the resultant effect translates into your productivity and business.
Where there are toxic people, there are also toxic liars and cheaters. Your clients and customers are very perceptive people. They can easily sense when people in an organization lack honesty and integrity. To save your business and keep your customer base, you need to cut the people holding you back with respect to business growth.
A workplace that is dented with greed and cheating will definitely tell on its accounts. It will tell on teamwork and team spirit. Rid your business of their negativity and setback. You need to save your business by severing your connection to them completely.
7. Your inaction is making you an enabler
Sitting back and watching toxic people go unrestricted encourages them. Turning a blind eye to their toxicity will not just dampen your credibility but also make you an enabler of their actions. When you keep them around in situations where they can confidently display their negativity, it does more harm than good to their psyche.
They need to know that their actions are unacceptable and bad for business. They need to know that their attitude and work ethic negatively influences teamwork. More than anything else, they need to be curtailed.
Toxic people occupy every niche of the business hierarchy. True, it’s hard letting go of people who hold crucial posts in your life. This is why it is more important to help them — by distancing yourself from and disapproving of their negativity.
The fact is simple: toxic people will remain toxic when given free rein to carry out their nefarious activities.
A take-home reminder
Whenever you are faced with toxic people, remember that every relationship in life should be built on trust. It doesn’t matter if that person is in your personal life or your work if you can’t be confident about anything they say they’re not good for you. And you should avoid them at all costs.
Negative people are very often unhappy with their lives, keep in mind that this is not your problem and you are not here to save them. If they don’t want to change that’s their decision, in the same way that your decision is not to keep them in your life.
Their negativity will affect your life, and that’s why getting rid of the surrounding negativity and these negative people is the first step towards a better life.
How other people treat you is the single biggest determinant of your happiness!
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About the author:
Jan is an author of the book “Full Stack Recruiter: The Modern Recruiter’s Guide”, Full Stack Recruiter: New Secrets Revealed and Jak hledat zaměstnance v 21. století. And the creator of sites like Sourcing.Games, SourcingTest.Online, Recruitment.Camp and other projects. As a speaker and blogger, Jan believes that recruitment is a great field and he is constantly trying to make it better.