Toxic Talent

What to do with talented team members which are toxic?

Talented toxic team members are team members which add massive specific value, but exhibit behaviors which jeopardize team performance.

This is the Steve Jobs dilemma: He had a grating personality, while at the same time exhibited unique brilliance essential for the success of Apple.

When dealing with toxic talent, the most important question you need to ask is what exactly makes the talented team member toxic?

If he or she challenges group think, a toxic team member provides a diverse viewpoint and is actually a valuable addition to the group.

However, if, for example, the challenge continues after a team decision has been made, this unhelpful behavior will destroy team performance eventually: You will get more of the behaviors which you tolerate as a leader.

If toxic behaviors extend outside challenging myopic team consensus, the best decision is therefore to let the talented toxic team member go. After all, it’s easier to find new talent, than to re-build a broken and poisoned team.

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