Almost every organisation has experienced some form or another of a Toxic Employee; someone who, whether consciously or subconsciously, disrupts or hinders the advancement of productivity in the workplace.
Also known as “walking liabilities”, they say things and they do things that make them a huge liability. Just because you haven’t been sued for it doesn’t mean they aren’t walking around creating liability for you.
One of those types is the VERBAL CAUSTIC.
Characteristics: Steps on others without even realising it; blunt and caustic; laser-tongued. Thinks he/she is just being honest, does not know when he/she hurts others’ feelings or doesn’t sufficiently consider others needs while pushing for his/her own. (this is certainly not always the case and is less likely)
Traits to look out for: Very strong traits such as frankness, assertiveness, self-certainty, or self-acceptance while at the same time lacking in the balancing traits of diplomacy, helpfulness, open/reflective, and self-improvement. These imbalance typically reflect an inflated ego. If he/she has low tolerance towards others who are blunt the effects are worse.
Negative side: Thinks there is nothing wrong with own style. Finds it difficult to gain respect from team members and cannot engage others in productive discussion. Has the tendency to say the wrong thing at wrong time.
FLIP – becomes passive, quiet or repressed under stress.
How to manage: Genuine performance feedback combined with a set of monthly coaching sessions from a qualified coach for about 6 months can make a big difference. The coaching sessions can help identify the specific behaviours that are counter-productive.
The Harrison Assessment uses a simple 30 minute online smart questionnaire that can help you identify these verbally caustic employees before you hire them or help you to coach them to develop emotional intelligence.