Being a leader of a team is the easiest when you have a team who is super motivated, does what you ask, always over-delivers and never give problems! 

This also means it does not challenge you as a leader, and also, there is not much growth happening for you! 

Team members that make mistakes, give problems, and have a period of non-motivation are what make a leader grow and develop.

First things first, you should never become a leader because you would like to be the boss! You should become a leader because you are good at helping other people reach their goals, motivate them, listen to them, and because you are a good teacher.

We tend to talk a lot about toxic managers, narcissist managers.

But unfortunately, we could also have a team member that is toxic or very demotivated, and they can take down the motivated team members.

It is essential to see this as a manager. Look for the warning signs.

How can you recognize toxic team members? 

1.Unwillingness to take responsibility: This often reveals itself in backstabbing and blaming others.

2.Negative attitude: Unhappy employees exude negativity, and many times you can’t correct the situation to make them happy. Such workers express anger quickly.

3.Gossip: Gossiping workers tend to create cliques and form groups that promote conflict.

4.Bullying and harassing coworkers: These employees use intimidating or demeaning words to criticize other staff members. (Watch out: Many times this starts as a joke!)

What can you do about it?

Well, at first, do not hire them! Sounds simple, but most of the time, when you have an interview, you tend to have some gut-feeling about a person. If there is something negative, such as a feeling he/she could have a bad attitude, do not hire that person.

Do NOT avoid conflict. Something can maybe start as a joke, but when you see something unappropriated happening, address it directly. Ask them why they did this and listen to them. These early instances are essential to react on. It is your responsibility; it does not affect the whole team. Define your boundaries! 

Document everything, everything you see and discuss with this team member also document it and make agreements on black and white.

When you address something to a toxic team member, stay calm and have compassion. Make sure to not react to the manipulation! 

If this team member is a very good employee, but toxic. Make the correct choice, which is keeping a healthy environment at work. There are many other good team members. Never choose the results of someone over a healthy work environment, because that is what will break your team! 


  • Stephanie Steggehuis

    NLP Mindset & Time Management Coach

    Just Know How Coaching

    Stephanie was born in The Netherlands and studied Marketing & Communication at the University of Applied Sciences in Amsterdam. She worked for many years in the Event & Entertainment Industry with the biggest Venues, Festivals and Parties. Beside her experience there she has also worked many years in the corporate world for some big names such as eBay and worked in various positions in different companies from Manager, Director and Vice President.  Today she is certified as a Neuro-Linguistic Programmer Coach and has completed over 125 hours in training for coaching. She always is studying the human brain, psychology, and mindset, to keep understanding the human being a hundred percent to help her clients in the best way possible. The most significant changes start with understanding the brain!