We have all had our forthcoming’s with a toxic team, whether it be at school, work, or in public and toxicity can put a team into the ground. Most of these toxic traits start from the ground up and work itself into management and once that happens it is hard to turn around. So what can you do as a manager, friend, or coworker to prevent these toxic teams from ever forming?

From my own experience there is always that initial first impression, if you are liked then you are accepted, if not, you are worked around. This can be the beginning of a toxic team (though getting pushed out of the group first and foremost is most definitely a toxic thing to do.) When I first joined Walmart there was a team whom I did not fit in with too much, luckily there was a couple people who I knew and that made it helpful. Once we had all gotten to know each other we started to see those bad days that most people tend to have. When these days happened there would be arguments and disarray. Management would have a hard time dealing with the productivity due to these stipulations. Once these events kept occuring talking did not cut it. Eventually we just argued and voiced frustrations leading to an impacted work day. Mixed with management not really caring, and our own self made trouble things just did not go away. Eventually the people in the team did things that they shouldn’t and that led to them being fired. Soon enough the toxic atmosphere had vanished and we could just go back to our normal workflow.

In many cases, toxic people are oblivious to the effect they have on others. “Most of the time people don’t realize that they’re as destructive as they are,” Porath says. “They’re too focused on their own behaviors and needs to be aware of the broader impact.”  That’s why it’s crucial to give direct and honest feedback — so they understand the problem and have an opportunity to change.(Gallo) So when there is a toxic person what can be done to fix the problem? Sometimes people are exhibiting toxic behaviors because of what’s happening in their home life and they don’t realize that they’re reacting to that outside stress in a disruptive or disrespectful way at work.(Ashford) Home life can be a huge factor into why someone is being toxic too. There could have been a death in the family, bad marriage, or many other factors. So it may be good to try and talk to them in private and get an understanding as to why they are like that.

Brilliant or not, you cannot dismiss the concerns and complaints from employees about toxic or disruptive behaviors from another employee.(Petty) Even if these employees may be smart there needs to be thought about the others there. Toxic employees can end up like an avalanche and just bring everybody else down with them. I’m glad in my case that the person creating the problems was terminated because it was a relief for everyone there. So now that you see these stipulations what do you think you will do the next time you have a toxic employee, or in a college students case, a group. Will you take the time to speak with them in private, will you just let things slide, or will you be the leader and be upfront with the person. In the end it will be your choice as to what is done. Just make sure it is for the best interest of everybody involved.