How to Recognize a Toxic Worker Before They Do Their Worst

Posted by XenokRoy 7 years, 4 months ago to Culture
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I found this article interesting, not particularly agreeable with me, but interesting that it comes from a major HR company that provides data on what you should pay, and what kind of workers you should be looking for.

It is a reflection on the collectivist culture that we have now.

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  • Posted by DrZarkov99 7 years, 4 months ago
    My hiring test was to present a problem and ask how the applicant would handle it. I generally rejected those who proclaimed they could solve the problem alone, and those who looked to be told how to handle it, and looked favorably on those who first gave me their assessment of how to approach the problem, and indicated they would look for support from others with the appropriate skills. Narcissism can be confused for real competence and reasonable self confidence, if you're not careful.
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  • Posted by $ jlc 7 years, 4 months ago
    We have had a number of highly toxic workers. These were people who charismatic and had an unrealistically high opinion of themselves; they did not perform well. (Though, if you asked them about how well they performed, they would give you a glowing self-report.)

    Sometimes, I was oblivious to the toxicity of a particular person...until they left the company and then everyone breathed a sigh of relief (myself included). I thought it was just me. Then, afterwards, people come up to you and tell you the stories...

    Jan, learning
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  • Posted by Herb7734 7 years, 4 months ago
    Let's see if we can make sense of the article.
    High self esteem even coupled with high productivity is bad. The employee might have the temerity to make suggestions which might go contrary to corporate traditions. Also, the contactor, who usually exhibits the ability to get a project started should not be allowed to follow through with its implementation, but it should be handed over to the corporate slug.
    So, the less imaginative employee whose self esteem is derived from his corporate position is the employee to look for.
    No wonder I went into business for myself.
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  • Posted by $ Susanne 7 years, 4 months ago
    Now we have to report annually the payroll of each of our employees to the government to ensure we are "paying them fairly", so businesses that don't pay everyone the same wage will self correct before being corrected by the dotgov...

    Wow, the slackers will have a field day, because if you're paid less than a business's best producers, the dotgov will step in and get you a pay raise.

    All we need now are the statues of Lenin in the City Parks, and framed pictures of Karl Marx and Barack Obama next to each other in each of our homes, offices, and buildings (as mandated by law) to remind us who brought us out of the darkness of capitalism (tho now it's called "oppressive wage slavery") during all our wakeful moments, as we start each say with a rousing rendition of The Internationale, and the pledge of allegiance to the poor & oppressed, the removal of the Bill of Wrongs in the constitution, and the only other thing that matters... black lives.
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  • Posted by $ MichaelAarethun 7 years, 4 months ago
    I found toxic workers loved government jobs and union job and especially government jobs with unions. On the MSC ships we used to say it took three people to do the job. One that never worked, one that showed up only if it was bonus time or over time and one to actually do the work.

    They didn't much like my farewell comment of now you have to hire three people.

    But it was true.

    The unions have this curios policy of promoting within the union C Book B Book A Book by sea time not by ability. Those letters used to mean apprentice, journeyman, master. Now they just mean those who learn, those who work and those who get all the good jobs.
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    • Posted by $ allosaur 7 years, 4 months ago
      I became a state employee due to having a hard time finding a job with decent pay and the Alabama Department of Corrections also had a good retirement which I now enjoy.
      To achieve that I had to survive 21 years of toxic workers as well as toxic supervisors.
      By year three a lieutenant at a shift briefing described the DOC as "a cutthroat business" and I had already learned enough to nod.
      Shortly thereafter my job survival was harassed for two years by a sergeant who seemed to have a bulls-eye painted on my back. Happy was the day I learned he had transferred to another prison.
      After that, it was nothing but good job evaluations. I had a good reputation and was known for a sense of humor.
      I don't think a year went by when some corrections officer left that maximum custody prison in handcuffs en route to the county jail.
      One of those had been telling my peers as well as the warden that I was getting a divorce (yeah, I was feeling depressed) and might go crazy on a tower or in a cell block. Well, I didn't, and I told that warden "Good morning" as he and others escorted that cuffed wannabe snitch past me--and me all the while looking that sucker in the eye like he was nothing. Found out later that day he was caught making an illegal deal with an inmate who was wearing a wire.
      I could write a book but, yes, I agree that toxic workers are attracted by government jobs.
      And, thinking IRS, EPA, etc.there are government workers who are also toxic to the public.
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  • Posted by dnr 7 years, 4 months ago
    When you hire people for the talents you are looking for, then you have no toxic employees and you have employees who will seek excellence for themselves and thus for the organization.
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  • Posted by CircuitGuy 7 years, 4 months ago
    The last bit makes the common mistake of confusing selfishness and altruism. Most of the article says you don't want people who steal from the business or take credit for work they didn't do. Then at the end it says the study says to get hire people who put others ahead of themselves. It never occurs to them to hire people who are on fire to improve themselves by acting honestly in mutual trades with others.
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  • Posted by $ MikeMarotta 7 years, 4 months ago
    "Overall, the study says to look for good "corporate citizenship," even at the cost of productivity. In the long run, a good "corporate citizen" — those who put others and the company ahead of their own desires — will be better for everyone involved."

    Corporations were the best solution to the problem of organizing large efforts. However, in the future, we will all be contractors, self-employed technical experts hired for specific tasks that expire when the goal is achieved. I have been doing that most of my life.

    One view of this as The Future can be found in Shockwave Rider by John Brunner.
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    • Posted by 7 years, 4 months ago
      I have managed teams within the corporate world for most of my career. While in some roles I use contractors others just do not make sense.

      If I want to get a new tool up and running I use a contractor. If I want a person to maintain that tool for the rest of its existence I hire a person.

      Highly skilled work tends to be of the type of installing or initially setting up something. that work I agree will go largely contractor. Instead of hiring that person who can do the initial set up to set up and then run the system. A contractor sets it up and then you hire someone for half the money per month to run it with a lessor skill set.

      I however would not be looking for a good corporate citizen in either case. I want a highly productive person that can work on there own effectively and with others.
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      • Posted by $ MikeMarotta 7 years, 4 months ago
        Yes, here and now that is pretty much the way to do things. That is why I work as a contractor. And it is also true that old forms do not disappear - we still have farmers and hunters; you can make good money shoeing horses. So, we always will have factory workers doing repetitive work, and doing it well for their own benefit and even enjoyment.

        That said, though, the evolution of culture has been for urbanization, specialization, trade, commerce, and invention. So, the future I see is one where "most" people work at a distance as independent creators and producers.

        And what is "repetitive" work? In the famous Western Electric study, they found that intelligent people find ways to make the assembly line interesting. From another aspect, what I do as a writer could also be considered repetitive. One time on an information systems project in an automobile factory, we were told to wear neckties because we were white collar not blue collar. I pointed to the computer and said that I get paid by the hour to work at a machine. My thesis was rejected, but you see the point.
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  • Posted by $ blarman 7 years, 4 months ago
    This one is all over the map IMO. Yes, you need the skills to get the job done, but a bigger predictor of success is how that person fits in the corporate culture. If you have a corporate culture that focuses on productivity and rewards the actual producers, you will find a culture that weeds out toxic employees - or forces them to change their behavior. The bigger problem I have found is that there are few corporate cultures which don't ensconce the politics of jockeying for position on the corporate ladder, and this seems to be a bigger problem the larger the company. I've worked for Fortune 50 companies, mom&pop shows, and medium-sized businesses, and aside from botching IT, the one thing that nearly everyone tends to ignore is how they manage their corporate culture.
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  • Posted by $ Olduglycarl 7 years, 4 months ago
    Interesting...I can see that in the past I have made good decisions and bad when hiring people.

    What was really interesting was a thought that relates to my research: It would seem that the brain can imitate a conscious mind better than one might expect; meaning imitating rule following, concern for others, etc, when they really have no real connection to those concepts.
    That might not mean they have no mind but that they don't use it to control their behavior; instead they have "Learned" not integrated into their character productive behaviors.

    Sounds like those we find in government doesn't it.
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