No manager wants a toxic culture in their team. But, if you’re not careful, it can happen suddenly, and seemingly without warning.

You hear about toxic people in the news all the time. There are the obvious kinds of toxicity: people who lie, steal, or play office politics. There are people who discriminate or take advantage of their colleagues.

But, there are also other, far more subtle breeds of toxic people who can seriously hurt your team’s culture – and might be already.

So, let’s talk about 3 types of Unexpectedly Toxic People who might be harming your team’s culture. They are:

  • The “Yes” Person
  • The Workaholic 
  • The Know It All 

The “Yes” Person

The “Yes” Person agrees with everything. They never seem to have their own opinion, but even though they’re saying “okay” all the time, they’re often masking apathy. They’re not bringing new ideas to the table – instead, they’re coasting. Do you have someone like that in your team? If so, try giving them a challenge: 

“James, we need to engage users when they’re commuting in a more creative way. Can you mock up 3 ads that are different and new compared to what we’re using right now?”

The Workaholic

The Workaholic is constantly grinding – which seems great at first – but they don’t care for themselves and they’re going to burn out. They might even bring other people with them because of their crazy expectations. Does this sound familiar? If you have someone like this in your team, you need to frame their behavior as a business problem. You can say something like:

“Grace, I noticed you’ve been working really late and I’m worried that you burning out is a risk to the business. It’s an important priority for the company that we manage your workload better.”

The Know-It-All

The Know-It-All thinks they know everything. If you have one on your team, you might have noticed that the real problem isn’t their level of confidence. It’s that they’re not good at seeking or accepting feedback. Remind them that true experts are always seeking to get better, and prompt them to search for areas of improvement alongside their strengths. Try saying something like:

“Kim, you’re really strong at what you do, and I know that you know it. But, I also need you to stretch yourself. Please come to our next 1:1 with 2 things you need to improve, and 2 ways you plan to do this. We’ll talk about it.” 

Keep an eye out!

Think about whether you have any of these people in your team today, and make sure to take action and stop toxic habits from spreading. Let us know how it goes!