Taking the Toxin out of your Environment by Ron Cacioppe

Almost everyone has worked with a toxic personality, in fact, according to a recent study by US Professors Mitch Kusy and Elizabeth Holloway, 94 per cent of us have worked with one. Toxic people are sarcastic, manipulative and egocentric and display a range of other counterproductive behaviours while surviving and even prospering in organisations. They affect colleagues and managers’ morale and debilitate an organisation’s productivity. As one person in the study by Kusy and Holloway said – “The day this person left our company is considered an annual holiday.” According to Kusy and Holloway there are three types of toxic behaviours: shaming, passive hostility and team sabotage and these behaviours are often subtle and habitual. A toxic person can be a manager or senior professional and can quickly infect staff confidence, team cohesion, organisational culture, and individual well-being. High turnover and absenteeism are often the collateral damage of such behaviour. The toxic individual affects profit at both a financial and human level. The cost of recruiting a new person ranges from 1.5 to 2.5 times the person’s annual salary, so the financial impact of toxic behaviour is significant. On top of this is the human cost, which includes loss of morale and commitment and an increase in stress. The study showed the following harmful effects for individuals and organisations: 50 per cent of people contemplated leaving their jobs; 12 per cent did! 25 per cent of “victims” of toxic behaviour ceased doing things voluntarily. 20 per cent reduced their rate … Continue reading