Too many businesses struggle recognizing toxic personalities on their staff. Sometimes their personal feelings get in the way, or they don’t know what a bad employee looks like. Spending a few minutes learning common personality types can help them uncover troubling habits, and decide strategies that work for their team.

The Micromanager

Managers should delegate responsibilities, but some concentrate too much on small details. Micromanagers spend most of their time pestering underlings about small details, sabotaging their productivity. Instead of assigning tasks and offering help or correction when needed, they hover behind employees, making sure they use the water cooler correctly. Of course, this wastes the micromanager’s time, too!

Thankfully, nitpicky leaders aren’t hard to spot. Look for annoyed or unproductive employees. If everyone is trying to do their job well but can’t, look to management first. If they are always babysitting their employees instead of giving them space, you probably have a micromanager.

Asking employees about how their coworkers spend their time is sometimes helpful, but could backfire, too. Looking at body language and attitude is a safer approach, and you can always ask questions to confirm your suspicions later. Remember, you will lose your staff’s trust if they think you are talking behind their back.

The Pretender

Intelligent people will find ways to save time and effort, at work or home. You should always ask yourself if an employee is actually lazy. Often, they will only look that way because they don’t have enough stimulation or work to do. Remember, too, that some employees hate acting busy just to please their managers!

Pretenders, however, really are lazy. They know how to look busy even when they aren’t doing any work. Instead of using their intelligence to complete tasks more efficiently, they plan so they don’t have to work at all. Unlike lazy employees, they are hard to spot. Focusing on your staff members’ employment history, references, and productivity could reveal pretenders, but employees that work together know each other best and will notice if someone is only acting busy.

The Perfectionist

Some employees love their work, but don’t respect their employer’s wishes. They know how to do their jobs perfectly, and refuse to heed critique. When pressed, they say that they just don’t work that way, even if they could easily adjust their habits.

If an employee’s job is responding to customers through email, for example, a perfectionist might avoid stock responses because they prefer their own writing style. Their personal preference is more important than clearly communicating with customers, or pleasing their bosses. These employees respond best when they are given a strict deadline for change. If they don’t conform, fire them.

Businesses can only correct employee behavior they recognize, and knowing common personalities is a powerful tool for combating toxic behavior in any workplace.

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