Identifying Toxic Employees: 5 Signs They Need to be Let Go

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From large corporations to small startups, toxic employees show up in every industry across the spectrum. For those in a managerial role, it can be difficult to spot the behaviors of these types of workers unless you know what the red flags are to look out for. To protect your business from the disorder that toxic employees can cause on any organization, it’s a good practice to look for the behaviors of these workers and attempt to correct their negative behavior.

 

Gossip

Gossiping to coworkers about another employee, manager, or client should never be tolerated. This behavior is more prevalent than other traits, but is quite vapid and only helps to divide a company’s culture and alienate others. The kind of worker that gossips can hold a lot of power within your company in that they will be able to create cliques within a workspace and hinder healthy team collaboration.

 

Chronic Time-Wasters

Toxic employees, while they normally look like they’re busy, will often use their time on the clock to attend to personal matters like shopping online or checking their social media accounts. While many people casually check their accounts at work, the major difference between the standard worker and a time-wasting toxic employee is the amount of time they waste on these sites. This type of behavior is not productive and lets them run up the clock doing personal rather than work-related activities.

 

Lack of Accountability

Employees that blame others for their misfortune, rather than taking responsibility for their failings can be toxic. Instead of taking steps to correct their mistakes or being proactive in finding ways to be the best at their job, they are likely to complain and point fingers at others as to why they failed.

 

Misusing Company Communications

Company email and phone communications should be related to company business. Of course, there are exceptions to the rule, and emergencies that take place that will stray from business, but for the most part, emails and phone calls should be kept to strictly business. Employees that use their phone to regularly make personal calls or use their emails to send inappropriate messages should be considered toxic and should also be reprimanded for their misuse of company communications.

 

No Initiative

This toxic behavior refers to those employees who wait until they are assigned a project or task, and do not take it upon themselves to seek out productive tasks. They may be getting their work done in a timely manner, but they have no interest in thinking critically and proactively in what other tasks should be completed.

 

While not every toxic employee needs to be let go for their behavior, these traits do show that there is a cause for concern and that action needs to be taken so that more harm isn’t done to the company. As the head of your company, you need to evaluate each situation on a case by case basis to determine whether the employee has a willingness to change, has not done too much harm, and if they are acting out because they feel slighted in some way by their employer.

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Expanding Your Network

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Arguably one of the most important tasks for an entrepreneur to overtake is the ability to successfully network. Entrepreneurs that have a strong network will have a much easier time gaining opportunities in every industry than those without one. Networking seems like a huge undertaking for many new entrepreneurs and even seasoned businessmen when thinking about it abstractly, however, there are steps anyone can take in order to gain a world-class network and the opportunities that come along with it.

Always Be Prepared

Come up with a few short sentences that you will be able to say to anyone you meet that will give them an indication of who you are and what you stand for. Be confident but also try not be boastful or arrogant. Always be willing to hear the other person’s responses and try to find common ground between the two of you.

Know Where to Network

Don’t be afraid to attend networking functions in your industry. Seminars in your field can be excellent ways to meet contacts. If you have an acquaintance attending a seminar, ask if you can be introduced to some of their connections. If you don’t know anyone at the seminar, it could still be a great success if you mingle and meet people in your field. It may seem overwhelming at first, but most people are approachable if you are interested in what they have to say.

You don’t have to attend a seminar or other networking function to meet new connections for your network. Ask people in your current network if they would be willing to introduce you to someone they know in your field that is successful. You never know who your network knows, and having someone you know to bridge the connection could be extremely helpful in building your network.

Network at Every Chance You Get

Even when you have an excellent network including many important contacts, you should still always be networking. Not only will your contacts give you access to more opportunities in the future, but they should also be seen as lifelong contacts and even friends. One of the best ways to access new contacts is by giving your time back to the community. Volunteering will easily expand your network’s reach as well as build a worthwhile relationship with a community focused organization.

Follow Up

Connect with the person on professional sites like LinkedIn and send a follow-up email, if possible, after meeting the person initially. Following up shouldn’t just be done after the first introduction. Periodically check in with your networking contacts to see how their professional career is progressing. Always be willing to lend them a helping hand by providing advice and references when asked. Building a network is not just about meeting new people, it’s also about fostering the relationships you make for years to come.

The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Being More Productive

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It seems like something distant we say to ourselves from time to time, “I need to be more productive.” Oftentimes when we’re faced with a myriad of tasks to complete all at once, we tend to lose motivation and our productivity sinks. There are ways to counteract this line of thinking and get on the right track to be more organized, productive, and have our days be more manageable.

Create Great Work Habits

There are probably different areas of your work day that could vastly improve with the help of a few useful work habits. Do you easily get distracted or have a hard time focusing on one thing at a time? Work on a project for 5 minutes straight and don’t allow yourself any distractions, then after 5 minutes allow for a small distraction. Continue to gradually add time to the 5 minutes until you’re working an hour straight with no distraction.

Are you having trouble staying organized? Come up with a calendar system that works for you. Whether it’s paper or computer-based, a calendar that is regularly updated is going to keep you on track with tasks that need to be completed.

Do you have difficulty getting work done on time? Get up early on Monday morning and create a list of priorities for the week in order of importance. Every time a priority is completed, check it off the list. Revise your list of priorities, always focusing on the most time-sensitive tasks first.

Make the Most of Your Day

Tackle projects that are the most difficult at the start of your day. The mornings are when most of us feel most energized and this is when large projects should be addressed. Instead of checking your emails, with the exception of pressing issues, go to work on something you’ve been putting off or chip away at a big project. Even if you aren’t able to complete it all by lunchtime, it will be a relief that it was at least worked on.

Mornings can be unbearable for most people, even entrepreneurs. Feel empowered every morning by waking up 2 hours or more before you need to leave for work. Don’t give yourself the option to sleep in, however persuading it may be. Wake up early and get started on your day while many are still in bed. In the early morning hours, you’re free to check your emails, come up with your priority list for the day, check the news, drink some coffee, or do something on your to-do list. If rushing around in the morning is something you deal with often, consider taking charge of your morning and make the most of it.