Jill Christensen
Jill ChristensenAuthor Blogger
Jill Christensen is a guest blogger for EmpowerPoints, an employee engagement expert, best-selling author, and international keynote speaker. She is a Top 100 Global Employee Engagement Influencer, authored the best-selling book, If Not You, Who?, and works with the best and brightest global leaders to improve productivity and retention, customer satisfaction, and revenue growth by re-engaging employees. Jill’s Website | LinkedIn Profile

As reported by Scott Mautz, author of Find the Fire and Make It Matter, 76 percent of bosses are considered toxic by their employees. How do you spot the worst offenders? A Harvard Study provides some tips, documenting two of the biggest red flags:

1. An excessively high level of self-centeredness.
These people don’t care about others or how their behavior affects people. Personally, I don’t think most people don’t care about others. I think most people are unaware of how they impact others. Take for instance the two women sitting on the airplane next to me right now, who have talked and flailed their arms non-stop for two hours. Or the man yesterday, who opened a door to a store and let the door slam in my face even though I was standing right behind him.

2. An excessively high level of confidence. The problem with this one? People who are extremely overconfident tend to be highly productive, so they go unaddressed in the workplace because they get results.

In my opinion, the first red flag is the greater issue, as I believe our world would be much better off if more people had self-confidence. The lack of self-awareness in our society is appalling, and something that personally impacts me every day. My coping mechanism? Rather than judging or getting upset, I attempt to be a detached neutral observer. I say to myself, “Isn’t it interesting how unaware this person is.”

I will admit, I’m a work in progress. However, it’s easier when the offender is a stranger, who you are around for a few minutes or hours. When the offender is your boss or a colleague, who you interact with daily, it takes on an entirely new meaning.

WHAT CAN I DO? The Harvard Study found that the worst thing you can do is nothing. When you allow toxic employees to stay in your work environment, it breeds employee disengagement. Why? Because non-toxic employees lose trust in leaders when toxic employees are not developed, or managed out of the organization, and ‘loss of trust’ is a key lever that drives employee disengagement. As I say in my keynote speech, toxic employees must be identified and developed. If they don’t change they need to be terminated. It’s in everyone’s best interests.