5 of the most toxic employees

07/09/15 at 08:15 PM | Published Under Job Openings by Will Temby

Seeing the same people at work day in and day out, year after year, can build strong bonds and teamwork — or it can drive you nuts.

Everyone has worked with people with personality quirks and, dare we say it, annoying habits. Here are 5 of some of the worst kinds of co-workers.

1. The Slacker

Good employees will pitch in and go the extra mile to make sure the job is done right. Slackers look out for themselves and are at their most creative when looking for ways to avoid work. They can be like professional football players who are drafted early because of their potential but never quite live up to it. Coworkers soon resent having to not only do their own work but also cover for an unproductive team member. A proven track record always means more than potential productivity.

2. The Narcissist

According to Hogan Assessment Systems, a Tulsa-based personality assessment firm, 65 percent of respondents in a recent survey said they have at least one friend with an overpowering ego. In the workplace, they are likely to be found in the breakroom bragging about their accomplishments on the golf course over the weekend or little Johnny's role in the school musical. Narcissists can be entertaining, but taking credit for another employee's accomplishment can quickly build to resentment.

3. The Clock-Puncher

Clock-punchers may show up on time and put in a full day, but they have long since clocked out mentally. Although they once may have showed drive and initiative, now they are just doing the minimum that is required. They pass on every opportunity to improve their skills or grow in their profession. Like a stack of old floppy disks, clock-punchers simply occupy space that could be better used.

4. The Know-it-all

Although other coworkers may be more toxic, few are more annoying than the know-it-all. Besides being an expert at their own job, they constantly tell coworkers how they can improve. They also believe they know more than their boss and can do it better their own way. Know-it-alls, like corrupt politicians, believe that they are so wise that the company's systems and policies don't apply to them.

5. The Shrinking Violet

Loudmouths may get all of the attention, but shrinking violets can quietly cause just as many problems. These are the employees who may never rock the boat but also never take the initiative and often have to be led step by step by their coworkers. Because they never want to make a mistake, they never take a risk. Other team members waste time helping them, and takers drain the energy out of the self-starters.


At Apprentice Personnel, we've been finding exceptional talent in a wide variety of industries at a moment’s notice for 25 years.

About the Author

Will-temby Will Temby

Will has enjoyed a 20-year career in leadership positions in the hospitality and travel industry throughout the U.S. with the Hyatt, Sheraton, Hilton, Renaissance and Steamboat Ski and Resort corporations. Will received a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. From 2000-2007, he served as President and CEO of the Greater Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce. He also served as Vice President-Special Projects for the University of Colorado Foundation from 2007 to 2009. Will is a past Chair of the Board of Directors of the National Homeland Defense Foundation and former member of the United States Chamber of Commerce Committee of 100. He is married to Nan, has five wonderful children, and enjoys coaching, traveling, hiking, golfing and skiing.

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