Letter From A Toxic Employee
While I share your same philosophies on building cultures and environments that employees can thrive in, I do not agree with your article “Why you might need to fire your most talented employee”. Your rants remind me of that fool, who used to have that show, that used those famous words “you’re fired!”.
I was a talented employee working in a toxic environment, which turned me into a toxic employee. Not only was I affected by this environment, others were as well, and some too chicken to speak up. I am not one to hold my tongue. I am the type of employee that not only points out problems but presents workable solutions. I was a model employee and when I leave companies, I leave legacies. I am not the kind of employee that you fire, I am the kind of employee that you want to duplicate.
I have held several positions in my life time and rocked them all. So, the one time I was fired, hit me hugely and made me look back at why that was. Here is what I discovered, yes, I was in fact toxic. I had become so stressed and unhappy that I was starting to make others around me miserable. However, unlike your article that mentions how you try to work with the employee before firing them, that was not the case with me. And as I coach others who have been through similar situations, often it seems to be the same across the board.
Talented employees do not start out with the intention of being toxic, especially when they first start a job/project. They are too excited to be somewhere new and start fresh; to get to know their coworkers and present their best selves. I have been a senior leader and know what it means to have to manage difficult people. And yes, I have had to fire a few myself; it is never pleasant. However, there were times I’ve had to check myself, and self-reflect to make sure that I am not the problem; that I’m creating a culture that employees can thrive in.
Toxic people need to be called out, and toxic work environments need to reevaluate their work culture. If an employee is threatening the organizations environment, then they have been given too much power (or maybe they are the boss). A talented employee should be able to respectfully call out a toxic boss, but the repercussions should not be termination.
I do not regret being fired, in fact my boss did me a favor. It fueled my fire to start my own business and not have to risk stepping into another toxic work environment ever again. Now I am a career coach, and teach others to vet their potential employers, and know that they do not have to stay stuck in work environments that do not bring out the best in them.
To the talented employees turned toxic, I hear you, I see you, I got you. To the toxic bosses that think they might need to fire their most talented employee, you actually might need to stop following the social media monger who told you that and do a self-assessment instead.
Talent Turned Toxic Turned CEO