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Are You Dumping Toxic Waste at Work?

Have you ever had a difficult employee, who you’ve had to repeatedly coach, or counsel, because of marginal performance and toxic attitude? They may somehow manage to improve just enough to get by.

Imagine that this toxic employee shows up one day, with their resignation in hand, telling you that they are transferring to another department. If your first response is a silent prayer of thanks, you are not alone. You may feel relieved to have them gone from your department, but at what cost to the organization? You wouldn’t consider dropping toxic waste off at another department and running like some middle school prankster. Why, then, do leaders allow toxic employees to stay and transfer, moving problem behaviors from one department to another?

In my workshops, when I talk about managers “passing the trash” I always get a laugh. I like to ask who in the room has ever inherited someone from another department who doesn’t measure up. Leaving them to wonder how in the world that person was kept on. Nearly everyone raises their hand.  This would not happen if leaders would aggressively deal with problem behaviors rather than turning a blind eye before passing them on to someone else.

Don’t pass on toxic waste to another department. Learn to deal with problem behaviors.

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