Are You Stuck With a Toxic Employee?

In almost every workshop, keynote, or training I deliver on engaging employees and improving teamwork, there is a lengthy conversation about toxic employees. These are the folks on your teams who may be technically competent at their jobs, but they create drama, monopolize leaders time, and negatively impact the performance of others. In this episode of Your Practice Ain’t Perfect, I’ll tell you what’s really the cause of being stuck with a toxic employee. (Hint: It may not be YOUR fault…). Click the image below to watch this 5 minute video, and stay for the outtakes at the end.

Joe Mull is a healthcare leadership speaker, author, and trainer who works with organizations that want to motivate employees, defeat team drama, and transform workplaces. He is the former head of learning and development for one of the largest physician groups in the U.S. and is the author of two books Cure for the Common Leader and No More Team Drama. For more info visit




  1. Aimee January 29, 2019 at 12:29 pm - Reply

    So just fire them and move on?

    • Joe Mull January 29, 2019 at 1:51 pm - Reply

      Absolutely. As fast as possible. To be clear, this video is referencing toxic employees with a repeated pattern of problematic behavior who have failed to change even in the face of consistent feedback and/or corrective action. Yes, we must remove them from our workplaces, as they’ve demonstrated that their future behavior will remain the same (or, as is likely, get worse). As long as they remain, staff, providers, and even patients suffer as a result of their impact.

  2. Jen Brieske January 29, 2019 at 2:23 pm - Reply

    How do you address the problematic employee that is toxic towards management but endeared themselves to their peers? If we terminate this employee, many others will leave also.

    • Joe Mull January 29, 2019 at 3:03 pm - Reply

      The key question to answer is whether their behavior is harmful to the organization or those who work there. If the answer is yes, then their relationship with their peers shouldn’t be a factor in how that person’s performance is addressed. If you terminate a toxic employee and it causes others to leave, that’s not something you can control. That’s their decision. Retaining a toxic employee and continuing to endure toxic behavior just because others like that person, is like allowing weeds to continue growing in your garden because they kind of match the flowers. Eventually that weed will do harm to the entire garden.

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