Misconduct and Toxic Employees who lack Emotional Intelligence

Nothing worse than showing up to work happy, ready to do your job, when you get stopped in your tracks by the Angry person. This Toxic Employee loves to cause commotion around the water cooler, and will bring problems to anyone else who will listen. They are often known as the workplace bully.


RITE Ladder at the bottomThe Workplace Bully can take you from being HAPPY to ANGRY within seconds. We call it ‘SWOOSHING Down your Ladder.’ These employees know exactly how to push your buttons, and can make a healthy workplace, a toxic one in no time. They love to voice their negative banter, tell everyone how bad work is, and it is ‘never THEIR fault.’


It’s a lot harder to keep your cool than it is to lose it. One bad apple can give five people a bad day.   ~Hank Williams III


When an employee comes to work more days in ANGER than they are in HAPPINESS, they could be heading to Block Out…



Have you ever worked with an angry co-worker or boss? That one toxic employee will influence others in the agency, bringing morale way down. This negative workplace environment can even set up a hostile work setting and cause great employees to leave the agency.

toxic work cultures


3 Signs of an Unprofessional Workplace

#1: You’re ALWAYS stressed out

Do you dread Monday morning, getting ready for work? You’re not alone. 42% of U.S. workers have left a job due to a toxic work culture. If you find yourself mentally and physically tired more often, your job may be stressing you out.


#2: You get BULLIED

Bullying runs rampant in a toxic workplace. The Workplace Bullying Institute defines bullying as

“repeated mistreatment of an employee by one or more employees; abusive conduct that is threatening, humiliating, or intimidating; work sabotage; or verbal abuse.”

toxic employee_RITE

The stats are there… 61% of bullies are bosses, 33% of bullies are peers with the same rank as their targets, and 6% of bullies are subordinates. (Survey by the Workplace Bullying Institute)


#3: Your boss is a BULLY

An manager who becomes a Bully, can lead a hostile workplace. They consistently put you down and undermine your ability to do good work. The concept of leadership clearly went over their head.


In a fire house, police agency, or corrections facility there is no place for an unprofessional workplace. Toxic employees are not born with ANGER, they develop this emotion over time!


Influences create Toxic Employees

  1. Childhood Experiences (i.e., Divorce, Sibling issues)
  2. Abusive and Hostile Work Environment (i.e., Bad Supervisors)
  3. PTSD and Career Cumulative Trauma in Public Safety
  4. Entitlement Complex – It’s ALL ABOUT ME!
  5. Addiction, and Poor eating habits
  6. Ticking time-bomb employee


Who is the Ticking Time-Bomb employee? They appear to be all buttoned-up on the outside, but on the inside is suffering from mental pain and suffering.  They are at their wits end, ready to burst… but no one knows how bad they are, until it’s too late.

One Ticking Time-Bomb toxic employee, can blow up their own life, and an entire agency in one fell swoop.


When we externally lash-out at others that is a VITAL sign that something is not right within our own self. Like a distressed swimmer screaming for help, the toxic employee is showing signs that they too may be drowning and need help.

take a blind eye_brush under rug


For most it’s easier to take a blind eye to unprofessional employees, than to deal with the situation. Agencies must take steps to immediately address the signs of a toxic employee.


Do you know leaders that ‘Sweep it under the rug, ‘ Look the other way,’ and take a blind eye’? Cleaning up unprofessional behavior takes effort, and it is the RIGHT thing to do for everyone in the agency.


Distress Signs of a Toxic Employee

  1. Expressing Verbally Negative Banter
  2. Spreading Rumors and Gossip
  3. Self-Service Actions against the departmental policy
  4. Block-Out Syndrome
  5. Unprofessional social media posting


RITE Training teaches exercises and tools that help start a NEW DAY for building agency-wide Professional Workplace Culture. This not only helps that one distressed employee, but increases the overall morale of the agency.

When you give employees the RITE Training, exercises, and tools you are laying the foundation for an agency-wide Professional Workplace Culture. It will not only help that one distressed employee, but also increase the overall morale of the agency. Co-workers will learn how to appropriately PIVOT away from the toxic employee so that they will not be negatively influenced or lose work productivity.



Strategic Leadership Plan – Addressing Toxic Employees

  1. Give agency-wide Professional Workplace Culture Training reenforcing zero tolerance. (RITE offers half to full day)
  2. Give employees workplace culture TOOLS
  3. Set up guidelines and SOP on Professional Workplace Conduct (for ALL in agency)
  4. Reinforce in executive meetings the need for EVERY supervisor to be responsible for addressing unprofessional behavior
  5. Address unprofessional behavior. Be prepared for push-back from the toxic employee
  6. Document the discussions
  7. As toxic employee improves be sure to reinforce the positive acceptable behavior


An agency is only as strong as it’s weakest link ~ Randy Friedman


Remember it only takes one bad apple to spoil the whole crate. Don’t let one toxic employee take the whole agency down with one bad incident.



RITE Academy provides Professional Workplace Culture Training that includes take away tools that help improve communication, and addresses Toxic Employees. These RITE take away tools provide an accountability needed to reinforce the professional workplace culture, that the police executive can expect within the agency.



At RITE Academy, we have been able to provide over 950 agencies (fire, police, ems, 911 operators and corrections), helpful EI Tools and Exercises that help each person personally control their emotions. It’s a huge Ah-ha when you finally ‘wake up’ and realize that you no longer have to listen to that toxic co-worker.

RITE Training helps ALL public service agencies improve communication, avoid the Block-out Syndrome, to De-escalate situations, build Career resiliency, Leadership skills, and Departmental recruiting.  Contact us about RITE TRAINING at your agency.