Dealing with Toxic Employees

Henry Hsu

Head of Engineering at Trade Coffee



I was in a situation where two people were consistently getting into heated arguments. I began coaching both of them on it and after a month it started to temper. However, in that same course of time other people on the team, simple bystanders of the arguments, got very disengaged and demotivated.

Actions taken

I realized that I was focusing too much on correcting the behavior of the two people and not focusing enough on the effects of their behavior on other people. When I became aware of this, I discovered that I should have prioritized the group as a whole more.

Lessons learned

  • "Dealing with toxic employees is hard to do well because it is a balancing act of trying to make both the employee and the team successful."
  • "Pay attention to how people are treating each other within a team. Identify problems as early as possible and take action to figure out how to resolve it. I have been in situations where I have let a conflict play out too long. It is best to get ahead of it."
  • I have tried more drastic approaches to dealing with a toxic employee but it had its drawbacks. The person felt like they were being penalized and retaliated. This created further disconnect from the team.

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Henry Hsu

Head of Engineering at Trade Coffee

Leadership DevelopmentCommunicationOrganizational StrategyCulture DevelopmentFeedback TechniquesDiversity and Inclusion InitiativesOvercoming BiasIndividual Contributor RolesLeadership RolesTeam & Project Management

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