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  • Clara Wajngurt

Different Classification of Toxic Individuals

Updated: Feb 6, 2019

According to Pavlou, there are many characterizations of individuals who exhibit toxic behavior. The different classifications are very interesting-the question is how to deal with them, as we have been discussing:

1.The gossip – “did you hear about who’s getting a promotion?”

Gossip in the office leads to a decrease in work productivity if too much of this is done. This behavior becomes toxic when “the gossip” is preoccupied only with such stories. One can say let’s talk about this during lunch or after work.

2.The yes-person –“yes that sounds great, if you say so”

This is a team member who always agrees with everyone at the end of department meetings – never initiating – nor bringing new ideas to the conversation - nor willing to learn. They put the minimum effort into their jobs – doing only what is expected of them – nothing more. Talk to them and find out why they are so disengaged and lack enthusiasm. Reach out to them.

3.The procrastinator – “I’ll do it tomorrow”

If you are a manager, be well-defined in your responsibilities and their timelines. Praise people on your team for their efforts and show positive interest when members of your team think through a problem creatively.

4.The excuse-maker – “that’s not my job”

This colleague avoids work but unlike the procrastinator who says he/she will do the job, the excuse-maker finds a way to not even do the work- absent from work, lack of motivation are reasons for this. Hold such employees accountable for their assignments by submitting periodic reports.

5.The narcissist – “nobody can do what I do”

This colleague is an excellent worker, but doesn’t understand the value of a strong team. This person loves working independently and doesn’t understand that success of the corporation needs cooperation to undertake challenges.

6.The grump – “why do things like this happen all the time”

This is the colleague who complains about everything all the time. Speak to them and understand what they want.

7. The sage – “I know it all”

This is the colleague who has an answer for everything, who won’t accept nor listen to another perspective nor any feedback. If employees refuse to listen to critique, they build walls against new ideas and solutions. Incorporate workplace training sessions on civility and collegiality – so that “the sage” can think “out of the box.”

If you are the supervisor, observation, feedback in a constructive manner and coaching are the tools for dealing with behavior that is toxic.

Do you work with such individuals? How do you work with them?

If you would like more information on workplace bullying or our services visit: or write to me at

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