Toss Out the Bad Apple: Four Signs That an Employee May Be Poisoning Your Team

A strong, engaging company culture is invaluable to your business. A strong company culture leads to empowered, motivated, “bought in” employees. Unfortunately, it’s very rare that a strong culture evolves naturally. Most of the time, it takes a lot of hard work and focus on the part of the business owner and leadership team in order to make an effective culture become a reality. 

It takes a lot of work to create a culture that you’re happy with – but it doesn’t take much to bring the whole thing down. 

Depending on the size of your team, one single bad apple can poison your team and ruin your culture. Just a few months can ruin the team dynamic that you’ve spent years creating! 

So it’s critically important that you don’t let a single bad apple spoil the whole bushel! Here are four signs that an employee may be poisoning your team:

1. Chronic lateness. This is an important one. If you tolerate any of your team showing up late with any regularity, the entire team is going to start showing up late. They’ll naturally assume that it’s not a big deal, because someone is getting away with it, so they’ll all follow suit. And it’s worse than just losing a few minutes of employee productivity, or meetings startings late. Lateness tends to signify a broader lack of discipline and/or commitment to the job. 

2. Excessive negativity. Complaining and excuse-making is contagious. If you have an employee with a bad habit of negativity, you need to either bring it to an immediate end, or part ways with the employee. Nothing will ruin morale and company culture more quickly than negativity. You can’t allow it! 

3. Constant gossip. Many people love to gossip. Often, it’s because they’re not happy with something in their own life, and so they’d rather distract themselves by prying into other people’s lives and spreading the word. Gossip is an incredible waste of time, killer of trust, and ruiner of morale. If you have a gossiper in your midst, make it clear that they need to put a lid on it. And if they won’t – show them the door. 

4. Regular underperformance. If an employee is consistently missing deadlines, failing to hit their numbers, or otherwise failing to perform, it’s time for an intervention. If they can’t or won’t improve their performance, you need to reassign them or let them go immediately. As soon as one person is “allowed to fail,” the rest of your team will start to realize that your “standards” and “expectations” aren’t all that serious. Weed out underperformers before it kills the productivity of your entire team. 

Have you ever had a “bad apple” on your team? What did they do, and how did you deal with the situation? Leave a comment on our post and share your story!