Toxic Worker Study




Management experts Michael Housman and Dylan Minor shared their research via a Harvard Business School working paper on people who are difficult to work with (referred to as "toxic workers" in their study).

Link to Study


One of the major findings: Don't hire them.

But many people know how to interview extremely well. The authors offered some toxic worker characteristics that I believe could be used during the application reviews, interviews, and reference checks:

Toxic worker characteristics:
1. Fanatical about rules
2. Outproduce normal workers but quality of work is lower
3. Overrate their abilities
4. Lack awareness of their impact on others

(Hey The Office fans, sound familiar?)

Perhaps if we were more intentional about searching for all of these characteristics in a candidate it can serve as a red flag to help us continue to reevaluate him or her during the hiring process.

Depending on the industry sector, once a part of the system some of these people can be difficult to let go. The ”solution" is often all too common -- they get shuffled to different departments, divisions, units, etc., leaving a wake of destruction everywhere they go unless there's an exceptional leader to manage and buffer their negative influence but what an abundance (and waste) of time and energy that takes!

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