Toxic employees come in shapes and sizes. There are different characteristics of toxic employees, but one thing they have in common: they suck the energy of everyone around them and hamper workplace performance. Staying passive about them will only harm than any good. But how do you find a toxic employee and learn how to deal with them?

Types of Toxic Employees

In this article, we talk about 8 kinds of toxic employees, though other employees might show some similar traits too. Again, the same employee might fall into many categories.

1. The Steamroller

Steamrollers are very intimidating. They like to control by putting others down, which they do subtly. They attack without warning and want to stay in the position of a command or a power. Usually, they are fast to attack and quick to anger. The volume goes high when they get angry to command attention.

Being judgemental is their main trait. They say no to changes they haven’t started as they prefer to have control of their power. They do not listen to new ideas and suggestions or new processes as they feel comfortable in their rigidity.


Listen and be patient. Train yourself to be firm and direct. You don’t require to respond or react to their behavior. You must stay calm. Stay composed by monitoring your tone and volume. 

2. Procrastinators

They always avoid or delay the work. They focus more on slacking work than to come up with creative solutions for the company’s growth. These employees try to tackle everyone’s workload but not make any contribution on their part. When the salary comes, you always see them come in the front line.


The best way to deal with these employees is to assign them an individual task and keep a deadline for job completion. Once they complete their individual tasks, highlight their solo efforts and appreciate them for their dedicated output. This simple step will make them feel special. 

3. The Know It All

They use their experience to make it difficult for others to challenge or question their ability and have never learned about the impact of collaborative decision making. They monopolize conversations, dismiss input from others and decide without considering the facts.


Learn as much as you can from them by asking great questions. Ask them for more detail that is specific. Meet with the employee in a setting away from his peers. This lessens the pressure on the employee from feeling needing to prove he is right. Make an open, honest, positive communication and foster learning attitude. This conversation will develop trust between you and your employees.

4. The excuse-maker: “That’s not my job. ”

These types of toxic employees are similar to the procrastinator in a way they both avoid work. They are clever at making excuses. They will make excuses for everything and have a coworker pick up their work. Other common traits include high absenteeism, low energy and lack of motivation. 


You can support these employees by holding unexpected visits, asking for periodic reports, and holding them accountable for specific tasks. They can doom whole team productivity and retention, so discuss their excuses as soon as possible.  

5. Non-Believer One

These people are quick to tell why something won’t work but have any solutions to offer from their side. They wish to disrupt other people’s productivity and raise unnecessary blockages in the way. These employees do not believe in the mission, vision, and values of the company. 


Help them understand why the goals, values, and culture of your company matters. Let them see the possibility of what can happen as a company if everyone believes in it. Understand their core values, needs, and desires and see if it matches their role.

6. Distractor

They do not take the job seriously. They consistently ask for help and rely on other people to correct their mistakes. This behavior caused frustration for the whole team. Most often, they seem helpless, disorganized, and resistant to change or take the initiative. They use their phones, take frequent breaks, and do everything but not their jobs. They talk about anything to distract others from working. 


Offer such toxic employees extra training and improvement programs. Help and provide direction for them. Make sure they are clear about their behavior at the office. The distractor needs more guidance to achieve their full potential and bring value to the team.

7. The Martyr

They are referred to a worker who insists on doing everything themselves. They work hard and make sure everyone knows it. You can take this as a good trait, but sometimes they don’t know their limits, complaints often and undermines the confidence of team members. They are willing to unnecessarily suffer for their work, which hampers their productivity and employee health.


Foster a collaborative environment for the team rather than a competitive workplace. Apply stress management measures and give ongoing feedback to such employees. Help employees know how they are performing and help them grow and improve. Help them set reasonable goals and achieve them. Keep no employees in the shadow and make sure open communication in the workplace.

8. The Mystery Man

These employees lack participation and seem invisible in the team. If they say nothing and stay inactive, no one can blame them. If something goes wrong, such as a missed deadline or an unhappy client, they know they will not be responsible. Most often, they complete their work on time, but little participation holds them back. There is nothing wrong with their actions; they are just not contributing much.


If fear is holding them back, then create a safe environment for the employees. Be supportive and take it slow. Accept their opinions and keep an open mind. They might come up from their cocoon once they feel comfortable and familiar.


To sum up, toxic employees will be everywhere, but it is not the end. In this article, we shared different employees and tips to help make a better environment for such employees. If you have more ideas and want to share it with us, please write it in the comments below. We would love to hear your feedback.

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