Stress Caused by Toxic Staff is Driving Managers Crazy


Managers are suffering from increasing stress caused by toxic employees in today’s workplace writes Peter O’Neill.

Serious health problems negatively affect managers when toxic staff problems persist.
I have found the main difficulties include their lack of skill to properly identify, confront and then discipline employees who cause trouble in the workplace.

Many managers, especially new managers, simply don’t know what to say to control anti-social or toxic behaviour and this causes them great stress and anxiety.

This can lead to all kinds of health problems including elevated blood pressure and loss of sleep.
Most people assume the boss doesn’t get too affected by difficult staff, but the reality is that staff challenges are one of the biggest emotional problems that managers have to deal with.

Bad behaviour from employees can include bullying of colleagues, gossiping, refusal to do set tasks, being disruptive and failure to meet work deadlines.

It may seem on the surface that all a manager needs to do is to take firm disciplinary action, but this in itself can sometimes cause significant stress for the boss.

I know many managers who take medication for the stress caused by aggressive staff members.

Many managers feel powerless because they do not understand why this type of employee does not respond appropriately to traditional discipline methods.
To perform more effectively, managers need to be able to:

  • Identify the main characteristics of difficult/toxic staff: These include antagonistic behaviour, lack of responsibility and a “whatever, I don’t care” attitude.
  • Learn the specific words and phrases to deal with them: These words are positive statements that are said in a specific manner.
  • Implement customised systems and procedures to limit their bad behaviour: This should include specific rules tailored to suit the company’s operation.
  • Learn how to confront difficult/antagonistic staff properly. Knowing how to confront properly is a critical skill that has to be taught and learnt by every manager in business.
    Whilst there are many business courses available for managers, many of them simply do not offer a complete management system with practical methods to help them address toxic staff behaviour properly. BFM

Peter is an author, a mentor and a highly experienced Managing Director and Business Consultant with over 30 years’ experience in Australia and overseas. He specialises in executive training and personal development for managers and employees. He has considerable real-life experience resolving “anti-social” people problems by implementing his unique Staff Management System. For further information or assistance, please email: or phone 0488 440 535. Information on Lextar Consulting can be found

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